DC Comics (originally December, 2002, reprinted in 2004)
This reprint came with the “Zipline Batman” action figure. I did a review of that for my other site.
“Hush” Chapter One: “The Ransom”
WRITER: Jeph Loeb
PENCILER: Jim Lee
INKER: Scott Williams
COLORIST: Alex Sinclair
LETTERING: Richard Starkings
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Morgan Dontanville
EDITOR: Bob Schreck
Batman moves to rescue a boy so his dad doesn’t have to pay the ransom. While he defeats the thugs, he’s surprised to learn the “man” behind it is Killer Croc because he isn’t that bright. He also appears to be mutated and a bit crazed, screaming how he needs the money but not saying why before Batman manages to bring him down. As the FBI come in to get the boy out of danger Catwoman manages to steal the ransom case. Batman gives chase but someone breaks the Batline and he falls to a waiting group of thugs ready to kill him. Rather than help Batman, Catwoman brings the case to her “master, because she’s under the control of Poison Ivy!
What they got right: The art is beautiful before you ask. I hear a lot about how great Jim Lee is as an artist, and both he, Williams, and Sinclair nail it. This looks like the Batman I know through a 2000s lens. The fight looks good. It’s a decent set-up to a mystery.
What they got wrong: I don’t know how well it sets up Hush but there are at least notations that someone is behind Croc’s actions (if not his mutation) and Ivy would be a fair suspect. However, and I admit my knowledge of Ivy is limited in comics, when did she start controlling women’s minds as well as men? Did she kiss Catwoman too? That’s her usual MO.
This is also an odd choice for a pack-in comic for a kids toyline. (If you didn’t read the toy review I linked to above it’s more like a play toy than a collector display toy.) Batman gets his butt kicked by Croc and the story ends on a cliffhanger as Batman is left for dead. I’m not sure the “Hush” story arc is really the right story for the toy’s demographic but I haven’t read the whole thing.
Other notes: The “Hush” storyline is considered one of the big story arcs in the Batman comics, a fan favorite to be sure. This special edition is missing the origin strip the DC Database says was part of the original comic, and the only ads are for the Justice League toys based on the DCAU cartoon and a collected version of “Hush”.
Recommendation: Not a bad start to the storyline, although I question this being reprinted for a kids toy. Otherwise it works okay on its own and might be worth looking into, if only to see the start of the hype and see if this Batman is what you want to read.