Written by Paul Dini
Art by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
Let me preface this review by saying I hated the Hush storyline by Jeph Loeb. I liked aspects of it, but the actual plot was terrible and the Hush character is underdeveloped, comes out of nowhere as the "long, lost best friend" and has no motivation for hating Bruce Wayne or Batman other than Bruce's father messed up Elliot's attempt to kill both his parents to, get this, collect his inheritance early.
That is not a villain that should know Batman's secret identity and in no way should be able to pose any challenge to him and it took a lot of consideration on my part to decide whether to even pick this issue up or not. However, I've been enjoying Dini's mostly self-contained / done-in-one work on Detective Comics and, with this being a RIP tie-in, I figured there was enough precedent to justify the purchase of a book featuring a character I absolutely hate.
The only mention of anything even remotely related to Batman RIP occurs when Hush off-handedly mentions that he's heard rumblings of a Black Glove organization that is after Batman.
The story is very Hush oriented and we see a lot of backstory and a fleshed out motivation for the character on Dini's part. It's not perfect and he's still a very shallow character with his current feud with Batman centered on the fact Batman's father saved Hush's mother from a car accident, but I liked the little touches Dini added to Elliot's past, like the flashbacks to the hospital and the explanation of the random quotes Hush uses, which ties back to lessons his mother taught him.
On the Batman side of things, he's currently pursuing a new (I think) villain that has a theme based on old Aesop tales, which he quotes far too often in this issue. Batman was trailing him as an undercover thug, but ends up being saved by Catwoman. The two then go on to track down the Aesop villain and put an end to his operations, but not before Hush reveals himself to Batman, killing the Aesop quoting villain in the process. He boasts a bit to Batman and then quickly escapes, setting up the rest of this storyarc.
Verdict - Check It. Don't buy it for the RIP tie-in. There's nothing related to it in this issue. I liked the additions to Hush's origin, but he's still a very weak villain and foil for Batman, but this arc shows promise and there was enough good in here to outweigh the negatives, so I'm happy with the purchase.