Art from Batman #619 (September 2003).
Pencils by Jim Lee.
|First appearance||As Tommy:
Batman #609 (January 2003)
Batman #619 (September 2003)
|Created by||Jeph Loeb
|Alter ego||Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Elliot|
|Notable aliases||Bruce Wayne, "The Identity Thief" |
Hush is a supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. He was usually an enemy of Batman. Hush first appeared in Batman #609 (January 2003), as part of the 12-issue storyline, Batman: Hush. Hush resurfaced in Batman: Gotham Knights, and later in Detective Comics and Batman: Streets of Gotham.
Fictional character biography
Dr. Thomas "Tommy" Elliot is a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne, and is also born into a wealthy family. The two boys often play a stratego-like game together, and Elliot teaches Bruce to think like his opponents and to use their abilities against them in order to win, which proves useful years later when Wayne becomes Batman. Elliot despises both his abusive father and his frail mother, who came from poverty and willingly endures every abuse dealt to her and her son to keep her lavish lifestyle. For all their failings, however, Elliot's parents make sure he is well-educated, in particular teaching him about the philosophy of Aristotle, which he often quotes.
Driven by his desire for independence and wealth, Elliot cuts the brakes on his parents' car, causing a crash that kills his father. His mother is saved in an emergency operation by Dr. Thomas Wayne, which enrages young Elliot. While at a summer camp with Bruce, Tommy attacks a boy and ends up in a psychiatric ward; he blames Bruce and his mother for his outburst. He is soon released by an intern named Jonathan Crane.
During the next few years, Elliot tends to his mother. When Bruce's parents are murdered, Elliot resents him for inheriting their wealth, just as he had hoped to do with his parents' money. Shortly before Bruce returns to Gotham City, Elliot befriends a young woman named Peyton Riley (who would later become the second Ventriloquist) - a relationship of which his mother never approves. When Elliot's mother recovers from cancer, she disowns him and cuts him off from the Elliot fortune in retaliation for his continuing relationship with Peyton. Elliot kills her by smothering her with a pillow, while Peyton kills their lawyer and destroys Mrs. Elliot's new will. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, his mother had died of a household accident.
Now the sole recipient of his family's fortune, Elliot abandons Peyton and begins traveling the world, as his nemesis Bruce had. Although he goes on to Harvard and becomes a successful surgeon, Elliot continues to nurse an irrational grudge towards his childhood friend.
At some point in his career, Edward Nygma (also known as the Riddler) is diagnosed with terminal cancer and eventually hijacks one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits to regain his health. During this mystical treatment, which renders the participant temporarily insane, he experiences an unexpected epiphany: he realizes that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Soon afterwards, the Riddler attempts to sell Elliot the secrets of the Lazarus Pit in exchange for a large cash sum. Elliot, by this time having discovered Nygma's criminal background, instead offered to pay him to kill Bruce Wayne. Realizing that they share a common hatred for Wayne, Elliot and the Riddler decide to pool resources to bring him down.
To this end, Elliot creates for himself the persona of "Hush". Riddler says that the name started out as a joking reference to the need to keep Elliot's identity secret, but becomes a more permanent alias when the Scarecrow starts to sing the lullaby "Hush Little Baby".
Hush character arc
In their attempt to destroy Batman, Hush and the Riddler manipulate several other villains into unwittingly helping them. These include the Joker, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Killer Croc and Clayface. They even manipulate some of Batman's closest allies (Superman, Huntress, and Catwoman) against the Dark Knight, utilizing such methods as Poison Ivy using her pheromones to control the Man of Steel and Catwoman and Hush's seemingly benevolent funding of Huntress's vigilante activities. Part of their plot included fooling Bruce into believing the Joker had murdered Elliot; Clayface shapeshifts into Elliot's corpse in order to create this illusion.
With these villains as their pawns, Hush and the Riddler set up an elaborate plot against Batman. Jason Todd, who was believed to be dead for years, enters the pact with the villains and gives them insights of how Batman thinks. Using the shape-shifting abilities of Clayface, they created a decoy of the former Robin, Hush collaborates with Riddler, Todd, and Clayface to use the Dark Knight's guilt over his ward's apparent death against him at Todd's gravesite.
Around this time, Hush cures the disfigured Harold Allnut, a longtime Batman associate. In return, Harold 'bugs' the Batcave with several devices that alter Batman's mind, but nevertheless remains loyal to Batman; he is certain Batman will triumph over whatever happens. Hush then kills Harold in front of Batman, and immediately engaging the Dark Knight in battle. Batman is at first disoriented by Hush's quoting of Aristotle- prompting him to briefly wonder if Hush is Maxie Zeus. He notices that Hush uses Deadshot's two-gun fighting style, and theorizes that he is either the assassin himself or one of his proteges.
When Elliot finally reveals himself to a worn-out Batman, the Dark Knight is saved only by the intervention of Harvey Dent, whose Two-Face persona had been unwittingly wiped out by Elliot when he repaired Dent's disfigured face. Once again on the side of the law, Dent shoots Hush twice, throwing him off a bridge.
Although Batman is sure that Hush is Thomas Elliot, he is not able to unmask him.
Still out to destroy Batman and determined not to let the rest of the villains get in his way, Hush quickly carves out a niche for himself, beating his former accomplice the Riddler to within an inch of his life, and even driving the Joker out of town. Hush also temporarily kills Poison Ivy during a failed attempt to recruit her.
Following a short-lived alliance with JLA nemesis Prometheus, Hush begins to torment Bruce Wayne with help from Clayface. Exploiting the latter's shape-shifting abilities, Hush is briefly able to shed doubt on his true identity and has Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth framed for murder. Alfred's name is later cleared, albeit through trickery.
The Joker eventually returns to Gotham City with an army of trained pigeons and retaliates (in Batman: Gotham Knights #73-74). He captures Hush and keeps him sedated for three weeks, during which time he implants a pacemaker into his body, effectively gaining control of his heart. At the Joker's mercy and unable to remove the device himself, Hush turns to the one man he feels he can trust (or rather, predict): Bruce Wayne.
Wayne consents to help Hush on the condition that he allow himself to be treated in, and confined to, Arkham Asylum. Hush agrees, and then immediately escapes after being told that the surgery had been a success. He is intercepted by Batman before he can confront the Joker, and he demands that Batman allow him to kill the Joker. Batman seems to agree and begins to leave, but then reveals that he has tricked Hush; the pacemaker is still in his body, and he had been allowed to escape from Arkham. At that moment the Joker arrives, and Hush begs Batman not to leave him.
The issue (and the Batman: Gotham Knights series) ended unresolved. Hush returned in the later Man-Bat miniseries, and is later shown remembering how painful it was to remove the pacemaker alone, and how the time between Gotham Knights and Heart of Hush was mostly spent recovering from the damage suffered, confirming that Batman did desert Hush at the conclusion of "Payback".
"Heart of Hush"
Hush returns in Detective Comics #846-#850, in the story "The Heart of Hush", which ties together with "Batman R.I.P.". In this arc, set a few nights before the events depicted in "R.I.P.," Hush is portrayed in a slightly different thematic fashion than in his prior appearances. His past as a surgeon is made into a major aspect of his modus operandi. In the first issue, Hush reveals that his return was hastened when he began to hear whispers of the Black Glove's upcoming attack on Batman. Believing that it is his right and his right alone to kill Batman, Elliot seeks to beat the Black Glove to the punch. In the second part, Hush has teamed up with the Scarecrow. Hush performs routine plastic surgery on his own face, only later revealing the result is nearly identical to Bruce Wayne.
Hush then ambushes and subdues Catwoman after she scratches off a portion of his facial bandages, recoiling in horror at what she sees. He then cuts out her heart, putting her on life support supplied by Mr. Freeze and delivering her to Gotham General Hospital. Hush comments to himself that it he began forming this plan after Batman abandoned him.
While Catwoman is left in Doctor Mid-Nite's care, Batman squeezes the location of Hush's headquarters from Scarecrow. Hush ambushes Batman by showing him the room containing Catwoman's heart, alive and pumping, at which time he pumps Batman with a paralyzing gas. He then confesses to Batman his plan: using his newfound resemblance to Bruce, he will kill and disfigure him to steal his identity, and then he will retire with the Wayne fortune.
Batman is able to stave off the effects of the paralysis gas, recover Catwoman's heart, and warn Alfred of Hush's deception. Hush manages to get into the Batcave where he nearly kills Batman, but Alfred's continuing interference and the arrival of Nightwing and Robin turn the tide. Hush retreats on the Whirly-Bat (a one-man helicopter), but his bandages become tangled in the rotor and it explodes.
Batman, Nightwing, and Robin can find no trace of Hush save some bloody bandages, and conclude he is dead. Catwoman, not taking chances and seeking some form of closure for her predicament and her current condition (Doctor Mid-Nite made clear that it is unlikely she'll be ever able to regain her physical prowess), has Oracle, Holly Robinson, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Slam Bradley track down Hush's secret bank accounts and stashes of cash and cut them off. Hush, wounded but alive, limps off to plot his next move.
Later, posing as Bruce Wayne, Hush travels to Australia and Vietnam looting the cash accounts of Wayne Enterprises' subsidiaries. He is captured by Catwoman, who knows perfectly well he is not the real Bruce Wayne. She brings him to Nightwing and Robin, who keep him contained in a secret safe house. Elliot, still wearing Bruce's appearance, decides to fake his surrender, waiting for the right moment to escape.
In Streets of Gotham, Batman's biological son Damian Wayne visits Elliot in his cell as the new Robin, and they play chess. When Damian leaves to deal with a new crisis, Elliot surmises that Firefly is behind the attack. He notes how Gotham City has fallen apart in Batman's absence, and ponders how to use this to his advantage. Elliot fakes experiencing spontaneous combustion, and when Alfred arrives at his cell to assist, he overpowers him and escapes. He then re-emerges as Bruce Wayne, saying that he will donate a billion dollars a month to Gotham City until the financial crisis is over. Dick and Damian, along with the Outsiders and assorted other super-heroes, explain to Elliot that they will always watch and control him, and that someone will always be ready to take him down if he steps out of line. With no other option available to him, Elliot reluctantly agrees to play Dick Grayson's puppet, posing as Bruce Wayne, and thus keeping the public from realizing that Bruce is dead.  Though this ruins Elliot's original plan to sap the Wayne fortune, he has not allowed it to halt his scheming altogether. Hush has appeared, notably as a member of the Gotham Shield Committee, around Gotham quite frequently, often attempting to make connections. When Ra's al Ghul arrives in Gotham, promising to ruin the Wayne family in retaliation against Red Robin, he immediately seeks out Hush. Faced with the prospect of Elliot using Ra's al Ghul's support to turn on the Bat-family again, Tim Drake activates a contingency plan set in place by Wayne himself to transfer controlling interest in Wayne Enterprises to Drake "if something should happen". This leaves Elliot with no official standing in the company.
"House of Hush"
Hush reappears in Streets of Gotham for the story arc "House of Hush" beginning in #14. He attempts to push the boundaries of his new role as Bruce Wayne, such as recommending that convicted criminals be allowed back on the streets. However, this plan backfires when the criminal Jane Doe - a woman who lost her face in an accident and has taken to cutting off the faces of others - becomes obsessed with 'Bruce Wayne' after he has her released. She infiltrates his life by taking the face of his new assistant, and subsequently cuts off Elliot's new face with the intention of becoming Bruce Wayne herself. Batman catches her and Hush, and they are both sent to Arkham.
During the events of Batman: Gates of Gotham, Hush is freed from Arkham by a new villain named the Architect. As this is happening, Red Robin, Nightwing, and Blackbat realize that the Elliot family is connected to a series of bombings that destroyed three historical Gotham bridges. Nightwing finds Hush, who has been betrayed by the Architect and strapped to a bomb, but is forced to sacrifice Wayne Tower to save his life.
Powers and abilities
Thomas "Hush" Elliot has spent most of his life honing his skills enough to be a match for the Dark Knight. One of the finest surgeons in Gotham City, Thomas Elliot has an incredible intellect and is also a master planner, with tactical skills equaling those of the Caped Crusader. Hush's greatest skill is his talent for thinking like his opponents and for using their abilities against them. Ironically, Bruce Wayne received his strategic skills from Elliot during their childhood before their parents' deaths.
Hush is an expert marksman, able to shoot two batarangs out of the air and set off C4 explosive using twin M1911 .45 caliber pistols, his weapons of choice. While not possessing the kind of martial arts training that Bruce Wayne acquired, Hush has proven his ability to fight hand-to-hand. He shows expertise and competence, being able to fight almost on par with Batman.
Hush has performed breakthrough medical operations, such as removing Harold Allnut's hunchback and giving him the ability to speak, repairing Harvey Dent's face, inventing a virus which accelerates Killer Croc's devolution, and tearing out Catwoman's heart without doing any lasting damage.
Hush is also able to perform plastic surgery on himself, using minimal anesthetic and sheer force of will. He's implied to have removed the pacemaker installed on his own heart by himself, and has shown the ability to grant himself the appearance of someone else, such as Bruce Wayne, using only a long series of planned surgeries on his own face, with the aid of a simple mirror.
Thomas Elliot previously had access to the vast resources of his family fortune, putting him on par with Bruce Wayne, and so he is able to fund his more expensive plans. He is also able to buy the cooperation of the main villains in Gotham, like Mister Freeze. However since the Heart of Hush storyline, Catwoman has tapped his resources, reducing him to poverty. He then puts in motion a plan to use his newfound resemblance to Bruce Wayne to leech off the Wayne fortune, cutting off the Bat-Family from it as well. This plan is thwarted when he underestimates his foes, finding himself merely a puppet of the Bat-Family and their allies as he serves to create the impression that Bruce Wayne is still alive.
The 2010 Batman Beyond limited series revealed that Bruce Wayne's last fight with Hush occurred on a rainy night and consisted primarily of a rooftop chase. As a last-minute means of escape, Elliot dove into an open window, only to be shot by the homeowner who mistook him for an invader. With Batman severely injured and not on good terms with the police, he left Hush's body without examining it himself. Bruce seemed initially satisfied with the official police identification of the body as Elliot's. However, he later admits suspecting that Hush's skill for strategy and plastic surgery could have fabricated the entire scenario.
Some time after the events of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry McGinnis discovers the former Signalman murdered in a manner reminiscent of Two-Face's M.O. He subsequently tracks the murderer to a hospital where an aged Jervis Tetch is being held and finds a bandaged man standing over a badly injured nurse. The man flees as Terry rushes over to the nurse, who says the man uttered a single word, "Hush".
Returning to the cave, Terry learns what happened in Bruce's last fight with Hush. Terry soon discovers that the reformed villain, Armory, has been killed with sharpened umbrellas (the Penguin's weapon of choice). Attempting to stay ahead of their foe, Terry and Bruce search out the Calendar Man, Julian Day. Upon confronting Day, Terry is suddenly ambushed by Hush, who broke in beforehand.
During Terry's fight with the new Hush, it is revealed that this Hush is not only capable of matching the current Batman in a fight, but is also aware of Bruce Wayne's identity as Batman. He regards Terry as an impostor with no understanding of what it means to be Batman. He also regards his murders of Batman's rogue's gallery as orphaning Batman all over again by killing his enemies as the only loving family he has had.
Hush escapes by throwing the Calendar Man out the window with a bomb attached to Day's chest. Terry chooses to try and save Day but fails. Confirming that Tim Drake was under constant physical and psychological observation since his time as the Joker, Terry eliminates Drake as a suspect and proceeds to confront Dick Grayson.
Meanwhile, Hush is revealed to have hired the new Catwoman to plant a tracking device on Batman, before proceeding to strangle her as part of his vendetta. A brief scene with Amanda Waller and a woman identified as Doctor Reid suggests a connection between Project Cadmus and Hush. However, Waller insists that they keep their knowledge of this Hush quiet.
Using the new Bat-Wraith (a robot designed to replace Terry as Batman), Bruce intervenes in Hush's attempt to kill Catwoman. Hush demonstrates a knowledge of Bruce's old methods—including his equipment trials with Alfred and his habit of making the logo on his chest heavily armoured—and manages to shut down the robot. Hush then proceeds to attempt to hack the Bat-Wraith, which forces Bruce to use the self-destruct.
Terry subsequently attempts to trap Hush by posing as current Bat-foe Mad Stan, only to be defeated and exposed by Hush's use of Shriek's Technology. Hush unmasks himself, appearing to be a bitter and enraged Dick Grayson. He spares Bruce and Terry so that they can witness him in action saving Gotham. Bruce then directs the new Catwoman on how to treat Terry's injuries.
The new Hush is subsequently revealed as a clone of Grayson. Waller, determined to provide the world with a Batman, cloned Grayson based on DNA and memory readings taken after Grayson's last fight as Nightwing. Waller believed that Grayson was more stable than Bruce and would therefore be easier to control. Doctor Reid also reveals herself to be the granddaughter of the original Hush (Nora Elliot before her marriage), seeking to atone for her grandfather's sins.
Hush sends a transmission to the Batcave, revealing that he has taken control of the Bat-Wraiths. He threatens to destroy Gotham in order to save it by setting off bombs along a fault line and triggering a new earthquake. The wounded Terry is aided by Dick Grayson despite Bruce and Terry's concerns about his old injuries. They are joined by Catwoman who is seeking revenge for Hush's attack on her.
The three track down Hush, but are unable to convince him that he is merely a clone. The group is only able to defeat him when Bruce temporarily overrides Hush's control of the Bat-Wraiths. Hush is then accidentally impaled and killed on a Bat-Wraith when Terry throws him off of the real Grayson, the clone being impaled by a Wraith coming out of a pit that it had previously fallen into before both fall back into the pit. Terry grimly notes that the lack of a body means they can only think the clone is dead rather than being sure of it.
In other media
- Hush was originally going to be featured in a planned DTV set on the animated series The Batman, along with that universe's versions of Riddler, Catwoman, Joker, Clayface, Mr. Freeze and Penguin. The project was later scrapped by DC and WB. There is some sketch art of Hush in Legions of Gotham. Hush was also going to be introduced in the episode "Rumors", written by Joseph Kuhr. DC didn't like the idea, and the villain Rumor (voiced by Ron Perlman) was created in his place.
- Hush is a playable character in Lego Batman: The Videogame. He can be unlocked after rescuing all the civilian hostages throughout the game. He uses two handguns as weapons, and can build objects and shoot faster than other characters. When left idle, he raises his hand to his mouth and makes a "hush" expression. He is also unlockable through the "Villain Hunt" minigame in the Nintendo DS version.
- While Hush does not actually appear in the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, Thomas Elliot's name is featured on an asylum schedule inside Arkham's old medical building. The notice in question seems to indicate that Elliot works double shifts at the facility.
- Hush makes an appearance in Batman: Arkham City, voiced by Kevin Conroy. Initially part of an independent medical team working inside Arkham City to service the prisoners, he was implicated in the theft of aid supplies. Prior to being confronted, Elliot reportedly removed his face. Over the course of the game's storyline, Hush resurfaces as a serial killer who dissects his victims' faces before brutally murdering them - earning the moniker 'Identity Thief' from the Gotham press. Although these actions were written off by Arkham's private security force as the product of gang disputes, Batman proves more diligent in his investigation - allowing players to track his quarry to a crude surgery theatre. It is revealed that Hush is now mimicking Bruce Wayne down to the smallest detail, having used Arkham City inmates as "donors" for his facial reconstruction. Elliott, apparently ignorant to Wayne's double identity, remains at large, warning that he will continue seeking revenge on his childhood acquaintance.
- Hush appears in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Nolan North. He appears as a boss fight and an unlockable playable character. He can be found by the Gotham Hospital.
- While Hush doesn't make a direct appearance he is mentioned in Batman: Arkham Origins. He's mentioned by Alfred as having called to invite Bruce over for a celebration with alcohol following a successful surgery that he performed on twins. Alfred also states that during the call Elliot was slurring his words and spoke with an angry tone, hinting at his hatred of Bruce. Bruce agrees to call him back later, unaware of his old friend's vendetta. In Bane's hideout there are newspapers that state the Identity Thief has struck again, foreshadowing Arkham City's events.
- Batman: Arkham City
- Wallace, Dan (2008). "Batman". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 40–44. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Batman (vol. 1) #617-618 (September–October 2003)
- Batman Annual (vol. 1) #25 (March 2006)
- Red Hood: The Lost Days #6 (January 2011)
- Batman #619 (November 2003)
- Man-Bat #1-5 (June–October 2006)
- Detective Comics (vol. 1) #849 (December 2008)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham #1 (August 2009)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham #4 (November 2009)
- Batgirl (vol. 3) #8 (March 2010)
- Red Robin #12 (May 2010)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham #14 (July 2010)
- Batman: Gates of Gotham #1 (July 2011)
- Batman Beyond #1 (June 2010)
- Batman Beyond #2 (July 2010)
- Batman Beyond #3 (August 2010)
- Batman Beyond #4 (September 2010)
- Batman Beyond #5 (October 2010)
- Batman Beyond #6 (November 2010)
- Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #1 (June 2011)
- "LegionsOfGotham.org - EXCLUSIVE: Scrapped The Batman v Hush DTV". Legionsofgotham.proboards70.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- "Comics Continuum by Rob Allstetter". Comicscontinuum.com. 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Ahearn, Nate (2008-09-09). "LEGO Batman Updated Impressions - Xbox 360 Preview at IGN". Xbox360.ign.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29.