BATMAN ETERNAL is one of DC's weekly ongoing series. With Batman, his allies, and Gotham City fighting the forces of evil, there's been a lot going on. As we've seen threats pop up, we've known that there's been someone pulling strings from behind the scenes. In BATMAN ETERNAL #21, we get a pretty big revelation that brings back a villain we haven't seen before in the New 52.
If you've somehow managed to avoid all spoilers (no, we're not talking about Stephanie Brown this time), there will be spoilers below. Make sure you read the issue to enjoy the revelation first hand.
At Wayne Manor, Alfred is struggling with having to keep Batman's secret from his daughter Julia. He wants to explain why he wasn't there for her when she was growing up but revealing that he's been helping Bruce Wayne and his fight against crime is not his secret to tell.
He is interrupted by an alarm at the mansion. There is an intruder and he manages to trick Julia into a safe room. As he seeks out the person invading the home, he gets a surprise.
Who is this mysterious person about to get the upper hand on poor Alfred? (This is your last chance to look away.)
We see the debut of a pretty big nemesis of Batman. This explains how he easily managed to enter the mansion and override some of the security protocols.
Looks like it's the return of Hush, right?
He injects Alfred with, what we can assume, is a special, amped up batch of Fear Toxin. Later in the issue we find out he's been working with someone else. It's their plan to take over Gotham City for themselves.
There's one big question we need to think about.
Is this really HUSH?
Sure, we can say this is really "Hush," but is it Tommy Elliot? We haven't seen Tommy Elliot and I don't recall any mention of him.
No matter how you look at it, this can't be the same exact Tommy Elliot we had before (just like Stephanie Brown has gone through some changes). Obviously the whole Hush and Heart of Hush story lines couldn't have happened as before. There's the pesky New 52 timeline that prohibits all the previous history from still being in existence. There's also little things like Selina not knowing Batman's identity, etc.
In the New 52, we know it's absolutely possible for characters to be be rewritten or transformed. Look at Wally West or Helena Bertinelli. Billy Batson's story has changed along with the fact that his alter ego is no longer able to go by the name "Captain Marvel." And what is Tim Drake's real last name?
Could it be possible DC is taking the costumed name and giving us a new character going by the name? That would be pretty gutsy.
We probably won't have to wait too long. The solicit for issue #25, due on October 1, says the following:
Martial law is imposed on Gotham City! Learn the secret history of one of Batman’s most dangerous foes as he takes center stage!
"Secret history"? Hopefully this means we'll find out all about Hush and how he fits into Batman's New 52 timeline.
What's my take?
While you never can tell what might happen sometimes in the New 52, I don't think they'd pull a switcheroo like this. Not with Hush. Many feel the Hush story line is one of the top Batman story arcs. Hush is a beloved villain, even if he became overused and ended up reduced to being locked in a water tower. We've seen different sorts of outrage when characters are changed and messing with Hush's history. Would DC want more of that?
We've seen some changes in the Bat-verse. For the most part, things have remained consistent. The BATMAN ETERNAL writing team has been faithful when bringing back other obscure Bat-characters. It would be interesting and a shock on top of a shock to find out this was a different character. But most likely it'll still be Tommy. Just some food for thought.
What do you think? Is this the same Hush we knew before? Is it a new character? If it's Tommy, how much of his past do you think will change?