Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Graphic Novel of the Month: Batman: Hush Unwrapped

Batman, "The Dark Knight" & "Caped Crusader" of Gotham City, has a stalker who is teaching his old enemies new tricks. Villains like Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, & The Joker pop-up, all refurbished in different way & Batman knows that someone is helping them out, who is a wrapped stranger who goes by the name "Hush". Feeling this constant shadow, Batman begins to reevaluate his relationship with those closest to him, including his sidekick, Robin; his ex-sidekick, Nightwing; his friend, Superman; & the anti-hero, Catwoman. Batman & Catwoman's relationship begins picking up some heat, but Batman can't help but feel that their new romantic feelings appeared the same time that Hush began lurking around.

Batman: Hush Unwrapped is the same story created by comic superstar creators Jeph Loeb & Jim Lee, which was Batman: Hush, but this Unwrapped version contains only Lee pencil drawings with no inking or coloring, except for the sound effects & Batman's internal dialogue. These raw drawings show off Lee's incredible talent. They are detailed, clean & kinetic. Critics may not like his mainstream approach to his characters that contain unrealistic anatomy for both female & male characters, but Lee is the best of the blockbuster artists. He tries his hand with painting with great results at times during Hush, & his splash pages are particularly noteworthy.

Loeb is known for his work with Batman, writing the best-selling Batman: The Long Halloween & Batman: The Dark Victory. Hush is similar to his other Batman stories; they contain a large array of characters from the Batman mythology with a mysterious enemy in the background. This allows staple characters to react in new ways not thought of in the past. Loeb takes advantage of what the Batman character does best: be a detective. Batman is constantly pondering, as is the reader. The mystery is real & the threat is ever growing, while the character relationships are believable. The interactions between Batman & Catwoman are my favorite parts of the novel.

This is a fantastic collaboration that resulted in one of Batman's most torturous stories, both physically & psychologically. If you're a Batman fan or just a fan of superhero comics, this is a must read & non-superhero comic readers should pick is up for its thrilling style & mystery.


  1. Is there any nudity or rough language or extreme graphic violence?

    1. Language is not an issue for this novel. There is also no nudity, but the women often wear skin-tight outfits & there is an occasional sexual innuendo. There is a lot of violence, but not any more violent than any other mainstream super-hero story. There is a lot of punching & kicking, one character gets stabbed with a sword & another gets shot & killed. The most violent portion is when Batman is beating up the Joker. His mouth is bloody & broken & Batman describes in gruesome detail how he would kill the Joker.

      Another reviewer gave this novel an age rating for "12 & up" & I would agree with that. If you were thinking of getting this for a young adult, I would ask them questions on what they think about the story. How does violence create more violence in the story? What kind of person do you think Bruce Wayne (Batman) would be if his parents weren't killed? What are the many grey areas in the story? When does "black" & "white", "right" & wrong" not apply? How is Batman like the villains in the story?

      Hope that helps!