|First appearance||As Tommy:|
Batman #609 (January 2003)
Batman #619 (September 2003)
|Created by||Jeph Loeb|
|Alter ego||Thomas "Tommy" Elliot|
|Notable aliases||Bruce Wayne|
Excellent athlete; marksman, and hand-to-hand combatant
Genius-level intellect; master strategist and tactician
|“||Ah, but we both know our play isn't over, Bruce. And ultimately I will emerge as the hero of our bitter comedy.||”|
Hush is a fictional comic book supervillain appearing in books published by DC Comics, usually as an enemy of Batman. Created by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Jim Lee, the character 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 was also born into a wealthy family. The two boys often would play a stratego-like game together, and Elliot would teach Bruce to think like his opponents and to use their abilities against them in order to win, which would prove useful when Wayne becomes Batman. Unlike Wayne, Elliot hated his parents, despising both his drunk and abusive father and his frail mother, who came from a background of poverty and willingly endured every abuse dealt to her and her son to keep her lavish lifestyle. Instead of defending Thomas, she forced him to memorize Aristotle, as a way to deal in a subtle, passive way with his father, something he never forgave her for. Driven by his desire for independence and wealth, he cut the brakes on his parents' car, causing a crash that killed his father. His mother was saved in an emergency operation by Dr. Thomas Wayne, which enraged young Elliot.
While at a summer camp with Bruce, Tommy attacked a boy and ended up in a psych ward. He irrationally blamed Bruce and his mom for his outburst, but he was soon released by an intern named Jonathan Crane. During the next few years, Elliot tended to his mother and, while at first relishing the irony that Bruce had lost his parents, his anger grew when hearing about Bruce Wayne living a life of (apparent) leisure and travel, just the situation Elliot had hoped to create for himself. Shortly before Bruce returned to Gotham to take Batman's mantle, Elliot befriended, over the common ground of their unwillingly sheltered lives, a young woman named Peyton Riley (who would later become the second Ventriloquist) - a relationship of which his mother never approved. Elliot's mother herself unwittingly completed their transition to true villains: when she fully recovered from her cancer, she disowned Tommy and cut him off from the Elliot fortune in retaliation for his continuing relationship with Peyton. While denying Thomas what he had sacrificed everything to get, she continued to berate him and compare him to Bruce Wayne. Thomas killed her, while Peyton killed their lawyer and destroyed Mrs. Elliot's new will. As far as the rest of the world was concerned, his mother had died of a mere household accident, spurred by her weakened physical condition. Now the recipient of the Elliot fortune, Tommy abandoned Riley and began traveling the world, as his nemesis Bruce had. Although he went on to Harvard and became a successful surgeon, Elliot continued to hold an irrational grudge towards his childhood friend.
At some point in his career, Edward Nigma (also known as the Riddler) was diagnosed with terminal cancer, eventually hijacked one of Ra's al Ghul's Lazarus Pits to regain his health. During this mystical treatment, which renders the participant temporarily insane, the highly intelligent Nigma experienced an unexpected epiphany, realizing that Bruce Wayne is Batman. Soon afterwards the Riddler attempted to sell Elliot the secrets of the Lazarus Pit in exchange for a large cash sum. Elliot, by this time having discovered Nigma's criminal background, instead offered to pay the Riddler to kill his childhood enemy Bruce Wayne. Realizing that they shared a common hatred for Wayne, Elliot and the Riddler decided to pool resources to bring him down. To this end, Elliot created for himself the persona of Hush (the name is said to have been coined by the Scarecrow, referencing the lullaby "Hush Little Baby" due to its subject being a child who could never be satisfied with what he had).
The name fits for Elliot, who prefers to employ guile and manipulation in place of noisier tactics such as gunplay. Hush also appears to be somewhat of a misogynist; he disparages both Zatanna and Catwoman, calling the former a "filthy gypsy" and the latter a "common gutterslut". This is possibly related to his resentment and hatred of his mother, whom he strangled to death in a fit of rage after she cut off his access to the family fortune, threatening his dream of going to medical school.
In their attempt to destroy Batman, Hush and the Riddler convinced and manipulated several other villains to help. These included the Joker, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, and Clayface. They even manipulated some of Batman's closest allies (Superman, Huntress, and Catwoman) against the Dark Knight, using 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 to believe that Tommy was the latest victim of the Joker. This seemingly tragic event brought Batman to the brink of murdering the Joker; he was only stopped when former GCPD commissioner Jim Gordon talked him down by reminding him that by killing the Joker, Batman would become just another killer, and Gordon refused to let the Joker ruin Batman's life like that.
With these villains as their pawns, Hush and the Riddler set up an elaborate plot against Batman. Using the shape-shifting abilities of Clayface, they created a decoy of Jason Todd, Wayne's former ward killed by the Joker years ago. Hush collaborated with the Riddler and Clayface to use the Dark Knight's guilt over his ward's death against him at Jason Todd's gravesite.
Around this time, Hush cured the disfigured Harold Allnut, a longtime Batman associate. In return, Harold 'bugged' the Batcave with several devices that altered Batman's mind, but nevertheless remained loyal to Batman as he was certain Batman would triumph over whatever happened. Hush then killed Harold in front of Batman, immediately engaging him in battle. Batman was at first disoriented with Hush's constant quoting of Aristotle- prompting him to briefly wonder if Hush was Maxie Zeus- and was suspicious of him being Deadshot or being trained by him, using roughly the same two-gun fighting style as he.
When Elliot finally revealed himself to a worn-out Batman, the Dark Knight was saved only by the intervention of Harvey Dent, whose destructive 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 was sure that Hush indeed was Thomas Elliot, he was 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 ends up temporarily killing Poison Ivy in a fruitless attempt to recruit her.
Following a short-lived alliance with JLA nemesis Prometheus, Hush then begins to torment Bruce Wayne with the aid of an all-new 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 the two men debate the merits of a code against killing such vile criminals. Hush demands that Batman allow him to do what Bruce will not and finish off the Joker once and for all. 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 the asylum. 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 removing the pacemaker alone was, 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. Beyond being merely a manipulative sociopath, 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, who had contact with Elliot as a child. 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 was Batman's desertion of him during the pacemaker incident that inspired this current plan.
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 Selina's heart, alive and pumping, at which time he pumps Batman with a paralyzing gas. He then confesses to Bruce his plan: using his newfound resemblance to Bruce, he will kill and disfigure him to steal his identity, then he will retire with the Wayne fortune.
Batman is able to stave off the effects of the paralysis gas, recover Selina's heart, and warn Alfred Pennyworth of Thomas' 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.
Later, posing as Bruce Wayne, Hush travels to Australia and Vietnam looting Wayne's cash accounts in the companies he owns there. He is captured by Catwoman who knows perfectly well he is not the real Wayne. He's then given in custody to Nightwing and Robin, who realizing that turning him over to the authorities would mean the end of their secret identities, 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 as the villain and the boy's father had during their childhood. When Elliot asked why Damian is visiting him behind the Bat-family's back, Damian shrugs it off as a desire to keep Elliot company. Elliot surmises that Damian is rather using the resemblance to Bruce to "spend time with [his] old man." When Damian leaves to deal with a new crisis, Elliot surmises that Firefly is the villain behind the attack, notes how Gotham has fallen apart in Bruce's absence, and ponders how to use this to his advantage. Elliot fakes experiencing the spontaneous combustion being caused on the public by Firefly, and when Alfred arrives at his cell to assist, overpowers him and escapes. But he then re-emerges as Bruce Wayne to the shock of the city saying that he will donate a billion dollars a month until their financial crisis is over. By posing as Bruce Wayne, Elliot initially believes himself to be untouchable by Wayne's children, as he can now claim control of Wayne Enterprises, as well as knowing the true identities of the Bat-Clan. Elliot soon discovers he has underestimated them, as Dick and Damian along with the Outsiders and assorted other super-heroes explain to Elliot that he will forever be watched and controlled by them, and should he step out of line, that there will always be someone ready to take him down. 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 he is dead. Though this has prevented Elliot's original plan of sapping 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 arrived in Gotham, promising to ruin the Wayne family in retribution for Red Robin's actions against him, he immediately sought out Hush. Faced with the prospect of Elliot using Ra's al Ghul's support to turn on the Bat-family again, Tim Drake activated a contingency plan set in place by Wayne himself to transfer controlling interest in Wayne Enterprises to Drake "if something should happen," leaving 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, continually attempting to push the boundaries of his new role as Bruce Wayne- such as recommending that convicted criminals be allowed back on the streets- while confident in the knowledge that, even if he eventually pushes the Bat-Family to the point where their only option is to kill him, he can die with the knowledge that he has left them with a permanent mark. However, this plan backfires when the criminal Jane Doe- a woman who lost her face in an accident- becomes obsessed with 'Bruce Wayne' after his role in her release, to the point that 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, only for this effort to be undone when Batman catches her and Hush. With Bruce Wayne's recent public revelation that he has been Batman's financial backer for years rendering Hush's knowledge of Batman's identity irrelevant, he is sent to Arkham Asylum.
A short time later 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, Dick Grayson, and Blackbat come to the realization that the Elliot family is connected to a series of bombings that destroyed three historical Gotham bridges.
Powers and abilities
Hush has no superpowers of his own. He has spent a vast portion of his life honing his skills enough to be a match for the Dark Knight. Formerly known as one of the finest surgeons of his time, Thomas Elliot has an incredible intellect and is also a master planner, with tactical skills equaling those possessed by the Caped Crusader. Indeed, 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 using twin M1911.45 caliber pistols, his weapons of choice (his skill has been compared to that of Deadshot). While not possessing the kind of 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.
Despite his advanced marksmanship, his demeanor far distant from the one of the gimmicked villains usually rampaging through Gotham, and original reliance solely on his strategic abilities, Thomas Elliot's medical background has recently been shown in his arsenal of choice, as he's shown using scalpels as throwing or slicing knives, and employing a large array of drugs, muscle relaxants and other surgical appliances as weapons along with his handguns.
Hush is a brilliant surgeon and has been able to perform breakthrough medical operations, thought impossible by many, like granting Harold Allnut a fully functional body, removing his hunchback and giving him the ability to speak, repairing Harvey Dent's face (with only a small scar to show for it), inventing a virus which accelerated Killer Croc's devolution, and tearing out Selina Kyle's heart without any lasting damage (though he had help from the criminal Mr. Freeze on the last endeavor).
Hush is also able to perform plastic surgery on himself, no matter how painful it may be, 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, without using masks but 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 the Elliot household, putting him on par with Bruce Wayne, and so he's fully able to fund his more expensive plans, and get the cooperation of the main villains in Gotham, like Mr. Freeze. However since the Heart of Hush storyline Catwoman tapped his resources, reducing him to poverty. He then put in motion several plans, the earlier ones foiled by Selina herself, to use his newfound resemblance to Bruce Wayne to leech off the vast resources of the Wayne household, cutting off the Bat-Family from it as well (although this plan was thwarted when he underestimated 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 after his 'death' during Final Crisis).
In the 2010 Batman Beyond limited series, it is revealed that Bruce Wayne's last fight with Hush occurred on a rainy night, consisting 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 currently severely injured, and not being on the best terms with the police, he left the body without ever examining it himself. Bruce was apparently initially satisfied with the official police identification of the body as Thomas Elliot for a while, but he later admits that he has always acknowledged that Hush's skill for strategy and plastic surgery meant that he could have planned 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., subsequently tracking 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 frightened young woman, who then claims that just before he was about to stab her to death, the killer uttered a single word, "Hush". The issue ends with the story arc title Hush Beyond: Part 1.
Returning to the cave, Terry learns what happened in Bruce's last fight with Hush before going on patrol again. After a brief encounter and chase with a new Catwoman, Terry discovers that the reformed villain Armory has been killed with sharpened umbrellas, in the style of the Penguin. 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 has broken in through the window.
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, regarding Terry as an 'imposter' with no understanding of what it means to be Batman, and regarding 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. With Hush having escaped the office after throwing the Calendar Man out the window, Terry is left to recuperate before continuing his investigation. Having confirmed that Tim Drake has been under constant physical and psychological observation since his time as the Joker- thus eliminating the possibility that the residual elements of the Joker are 'manipulating' him to act as the new Hush-, Terry proceeds to confront and question Dick Grayson. Meanwhile, Hush hires the new Catwoman to plant a tracking device on Batman so that he can monitor his whereabouts, before proceeding to strangle Catwoman 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, but Waller insists that they keep their knowledge of Hush quiet.
Using the new 'Bat-Wraith'- a robot designed to 'replace' Terry as Batman-, Bruce intervenes in Hush's attempt to kill Catwoman, but despite Catwoman demonstrating the ability to create duplicates of herself to increase the number of combatants, Hush- demonstrating a knowledge of Bruce's old methods, including his trials of old equipment with Alfred and his habit of making the logo on his chest heavily armoured- manages to shut down the robot, forcing Bruce to use the self-destruct. Terry subsequently attempts to trap Hush by posing as Mad Stan, only to be defeated and immobilised by Hush's use of technology acquired from Shriek, Hush unmasking to reveal himself to be apparently a bitter and enraged Dick Grayson.
After Hush spares Bruce and Terry so that they can witness him surpassing them both in 'saving' Gotham- Bruce directing the new Catwoman on how to treat Terry's injuries over the Batsuit's radio- it is revealed that the new Hush is a clone of Grayson, due to Amanda Waller's determination to provide the world with a Batman, having cloned Grayson based on DNA and memory readings taken from after his last fight with the Joker in the belief that he was more stable than Bruce. One of Cadmus's staff members, Doctor Reid, reveals herself to be the granddaughter of the villain, Nora Elliot before her marriage, seeking to atone her grandfather's sins.
In the final confrontation with Hush- the villain having taking control of the 'Bat-Wraiths' and now threatening to destroy Gotham to 'save' it by setting off bombs on a fault line to trigger a new earthquake, the wounded Terry is aided by Dick Grayson- despite Bruce and Terry's concerns about his old injuries- and Catwoman- seeking revenge for Hush's attack on her-, the three tracking Hush to his location. With Grayson unable to convince Hush that he is merely a clone, the group are only able to defeat Hush when Bruce temporarily override's Hush's control of the Bat-wraiths, Hush being subsequently accidentally impaled on a Bat-Wraith when Terry throws him off Grayson.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Hush is subsequently killed by Batman.
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 that can be unlocked in Lego Batman: The Videogame 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.
- Hush's biography is an unlockable extra in the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. The player must solve a riddle stating "Shhhhh! Rumors persist that Tommy Elliott operates in Arkham. Can it be true?" The answer is hidden on a schedule in the Medical Facility's Surgery Room, where the name "Dr. Tommy Elliott" is written as being on a double shift thereby confirming that Hush is indeed working at Arkham.
- Hush appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Shanon Weaver.
- Hush makes an appearance in Batman: Arkham City, voiced by Kevin Conroy. He is featured in the side quest "Identity Thief". After discovering him as the killer of several inmates in Arkham City, the player confronts Hush who has surgically changed his face and voice to be like that of Bruce Wayne's after claiming some pieces for it from some "donors." Afterwards, Hush escapes to Gotham City while Batman plans to pursue him once he is finished in Arkham City.
|Shared codenames: Batman • Robin • Batwoman • Batgirl • Huntress • Nightwing|
Villains: 2-Face-2 • Bane • Black Mask • Calender Man • Catwoman • Clayface
Character names: Ace the Bat-Hound • Bat-Mite • Helena Bertinelli • Stephanie Brown • Cassandra Cain • Tim Drake • Barbara Gordon • Dick Grayson • Betty Kane