Warning: The Following Contains SPOILERS For Batman: Hush
The new animated adaptation of Batman: Hush has changed the original storyline's twist ending and improved upon it. Written by Jeph Loeb with artwork by Jim Lee, Batman: Hush is still considered to be a classic of the comic book medium and one of the most important Batman stories nearly two decades after its original release.
Batman: Hush was originally published in the monthly Batman comic book, starting with Batman #608, in December 2002. Over the span of a year, Batman was stalked by a mysterious new villain (eventually named Hush) who seemed content to manipulate Batman from afar, as he was confronted by other members of his rogues' gallery, including The Joker, Clayface, and Harley Quinn. While no longer canon in the larger Batman storyline, Batman: Hush is still widely regarded as one of Jim Lee's finest works as an artist. It is also notable for having been the first story to present the idea of a resurrected Jason Todd, which would later lead to Todd's true resurrection and his becoming the Red Hood.
The original Batman: Hush comics teased Hush's true identity before finally revealing him as Dr. Thomas Elliot - a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, who had attempted to unsuccessfully murder his parents as a child and grown resentful of Bruce's "luck" in winning his family fortune at a young age. The big twist of the story, however, was that Hush had been helped in his endeavors by Edward Nigma (aka The Riddler), who had figured out that Bruce Wayne was Batman during a sudden flash of insight while using a stolen Lazarus Pit to treat an inoperable brain tumor. Nigma attempted to sell the secret of the Lazarus Pit to Dr. Elliot, who had overseen Nigma's previously unsuccessful brain surgery. Elliot was more interested in hiring The Riddler to kill Bruce Wayne, however, leading to their partnership as The Riddler tutored Hush in the fine art of supervillainy while organizing an army of villains against Batman.
While few saw The Riddler's involvement in the larger storyline coming, many Riddler fans felt that he was written horribly out of character in the final chapter of Batman: Hush. They believed that Edward Nigma's defining drive, stripped of all psychoses, has always been his need to prove his intelligence. It made little sense for Nigma to try and sell Batman's secret identity rather than shouting it from the rooftops, or at least contriving some means of revealing it to the world while proving that Edward Nigma was the man who had solved the mystery that no one else could. They also argued that the means by which Batman bought Nigma's silence regarding his secret identity - telling him that a riddle is worthless if everyone knows the answer - made even less sense than Nigma's trying to sell the secret identity in the first place.
To that end, the animated film version of Batman: Hush offers a new twist - that Hush is a new villain persona that Edward Nigma created for himself so that he could move among the criminal underworld undetected. This was necessary because Nigma wanted revenge against all the other supervillains who mocked him as a C-lister ,as well as Batman. Poison Ivy and Bane would never take Edward Nigma seriously, but they would listen to a mysterious new villain who knew things about them that nobody else did, who then offered to upgrade their powers in exchange for assistance in a plot to destroy Batman.
This conceit improves the story of Batman: Hush dramatically. By making Hush into a new Riddler identity, Nigma now has a legitimate need for secrecy that overshadowed his compulsion to show off, while allowing him to satisfy his flair for the dramatic as he built to the big reveal. The new twist also defies the trope that any new character introduced into a long-running narrative (in this case, Bruce Wayne's old friend, Dr. Thomas Elliot) will inevitably turn out to be a new villain in disguise. If nothing else, the change also enables those fans of the original Hush storyline to be honestly surprised by the film version's conclusion.
Batman: Hush is now available for digital download and hits home media on August 6.