Monday, August 18, 2003

Looking To The Stars: Keeping It Hush-Hush.

The following thoughts spun out of a conversation on our message boards. It was suggested that those of you who don’t read the boards might want to read this as well, so here it is.

I should mention here at the start that if you haven’t read Batman #617 and do not know of the much ballyhooed revelation within…well, you can skip my column just this once because this will either a) spoil a good story for you or b) bore you to tears. Just pass forward the note from your parents and go sit in the hall until I come to get you.

I make no claims to any inside information or any precognitive abilities. So if it turns out that my deductions are correct, please do not ask me for any advice regarding relationships, money, stock tips or sporting events. I have no special powers, over than a keen detective insight forged by years of reading Batman comics.

I would like to point out something that many people discussing this issue have forgotten and put forth my own theory about it. See, I'm not quite sure that Jason Todd is quite so resurrected as we'd like to think. To quote the good Batbook, issue 617, page 28.

Scarecrow: I don't understand. My fear gas should have affected you. Unless... your mind was already infected by another--

The obvious suggestion here is that someone is influencing Batman to see something besides what is there. The fact that "Jason" is holding Robin by the throat seems to suggest they are trying to keep him from saying something.

This leads to two possible suspects.

1. The Mad Hatter

A Loeb favorite, frequently partnered with Scarecrow in his works, he's about the only one of the classic villains we haven't seen yet. And it would be a trick getting it on him, but one of his mind control devices would definitely alter Batman past the point of fear gas working on him.

2. Spellbinder

Villainess with the power to create illusions, but from what I remember she could only work on one person at a time. Mostly slumming around in Green Lantern and other titles of late, she got her start as a Bat-villain and has appeared in Birds of Prey numerous times.

There. Now that my peace is said, let's assume that IS Jason. How then, do we explain, who Hush REALLY is. I mean, obviously it can't be Jason completely. He would have needed help from someone to come back from the dead.

Well, I have my own theories about this. I'm not going to make any claims as to knowing exactly WHO Hush is, but let's review the facts thus far and I'll explain my guess.

1. Evidence Hush is Harvey or Two Face: Flipped coin with scared head. Costume is dead ringer for
Harvey's outfit from "Dark Knight Returns".

Problems: Hush knows more than Harvey Dent should now about Batman. Of course, back in the early days, Batman trusted
Harvey enough to consider revealing his secret ID to him. Harvey and his gang made it into the Batcave in Dark Victory. It is not unimpossible that Harvey may have figured out that Bruce Wayne is Batman.

2. Evidence Hush is Jason Todd- foreshadowing in various points of early issues (Hush stands next to Robin sign, for example). Jason Todd would have all the knowledge of Batman Hush does.

Problems: As I said, Jason would have needed help coming back from the dead. As such, he is not the ultimate mastermind behind the plan. Also, judging from his appearance in the book he is quite a bit older than at the time of his death, meaning he has been alive for quite a while.

3. I think it possible, and even likely, that the two could be working together. After all...

Jason was the second Robin.

Two working together under one identity would certainly appeal to Two Face.

Problem: Jason's resurrection would require knowledge that Harvey Dent didn't have.

The obvious solution, given the dust Bruce found: Lazarus Pit. But Ra's denies involvement... and so few others know about the Lazarus pits. Except for those closest to Ra’s... such as a very devoted daughter. A devoted daughter who just got hired away to run a certain corporation...

And there we hit it. Who has a major grudge against Batman and Bruce Wayne? Who would have the resources and connections to monitor Batman. Who used those same resources to discover Superman's secret identity? Who made a totally unmotivated appearance in the book to say "No, not yet." and nothing more?

Answer: Lex Luthor.

Obviously Lex is involved in this somehow. Lord knows he's tried to get to Bruce and Batman before and something this convoluted or complicated wouldn't be beyond his means. Of course some (like our Dark Overlord) doubt Loeb would go through all this examination of Batman and his enemies only to make the ultimate villain be Superman’s greatest enemy.

Well, ignoring the connections it appears that Loeb is trying to draw between a Superman villain and Batman’s past in Superman/Batman #1… lets consider the fact that in the last few years, Lex has been just as big a Batman villain as he has been a Superman baddie.

Lex was the mastermind behind framing Bruce Wayne for Murder, thanks to Bruce's stopping Lex's buy-out of Gotham after No Man's Land. And he's had something of a vendeta against Batman due to...

1. Batman clearing Superman on a murder charge (JLA 80 Page Giant)

2. Batman's head for tactics derailing his Injustice League (JLA: Rock of Ages)

And lets not forget that we have seen Luthor in Hush once and that his company gave Ivy the chemicals she needed for her plants. And we never DID get an explanation as to who gave Ivy that Kryptonite-tainted lipstick. Who better (or more likely) than Luthor?

Of course it could just be Dr. Hugo Strange (Stephen’s crazy uncle) again, but all the Smart Money is on the bald one.

Tune in next week. Same Matt Time. Same Matt Website.

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