[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Dexter Soy
Letters: Troy Peteri
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
Following the smash success of last year’s Tales from the Dark Multiverse series, DC returns with five new tales that explore dark, twisted timelines spinning out some of DC’s most iconic stories.
It begins with the story that kicked off the modern era for Batman…“Hush”! The landmark story introduced Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend Tommy Elliot as he tried to destroy the Dark Knight…but what if Tommy had ruined Bruce’s life when they were children?
Tommy Elliot grew up to be the Dark Prince of Gotham City with the help of Talia al Ghul, Oswald Cobblepot, Harvey Dent, and Jason Todd! But vengeance is coming in the form of Batman the Silenced…who will tear Tommy’s life apart!
In 1977 Marvel Comics developed a series entitled “What If..” where it explored alternate reality stories that took place with the same heroes and villains. This slight twist or turn to the story gave the reader a glimpse of what could happen if we took one important element and changed it.
Marvel even based the idea after a prior comic book. For instance, What if the Fantastic Four had been given different powers with their reference being the first issue of Fantastic Four? Or what if the Avengers had never been, based on Avengers #3?
Here DC reinvents one of its most intriguing stories in its recent history giving Hush a unique treatment placing Bruce Wayne in the role of terrorizing Tommy Elliot.
It turns out that Tommy and his parents were there in Crime Alley witnessing Bruce’s parents murder. They take him in versus his life with Alfred, and there is where the twist begins.
I have to give it to DC in that they are allowing their artists and authors some liberties in borrowing some elements to create all their multiverse stories. However, you have to be well read lately to pick up these clues.
For instance, even thinking a relationship between Jason Todd and Talia Al Ghul is a possibility is a stretch….well not a long one since she does have access to the Lazarus Pits.
Kudos to Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee for the original idea of Hush.
Dick Grayson as an agent of The Court of Owls…that’s an awesome costume. Thanks Scott Snyder for this contribution.
Want a bit from the Murphyverse of White Knight…sure let’s put in Jack Napier. Thanks Sean Gordon Murphy!
Again, that’s the beauty of having a What If…format like this in a DC World. You get to play with all the action figures from all the comics all at once.
Simply put, it’s a reboot. I think DC is showing a bit of regret in that it knows how important that Alfred was to the entire raising of Bruce Wayne. What a pivotal character to remove from the regular Batman books.
We as readers knew he was instrumental in all things Batman, and when his neck was snapped. Well, that is a turning point. Probably in ten years we will have a Tales from the Dark Multiverse: What If Alfred Had Lived #1.
In the meantime, why the bandages over a Batman outfit. I mean…. in the Hush origin, it made perfect sense, but here it just reeks of a grab to make sure we remember Tommy Elliot. But it is so out of place.
I’m a sucker for anything with Talia Al Ghul in it. The fact that a lot of artists and authors’ work is featured as either intentional Easter Eggs or a carry over from DC Executive Jim Lee’s days at Marvel, the intention is good.
However, the story is a bit formulaic, and what do we have after? If you like some bubble gum for the brain, it’s a good read.