Detective Comics #850 Review

Detective Comics #850 is the conclusion to the entertaining Hush story arc. For those fans who have not enjoyed Morrison’s Batman RIP, Dini’s work on Detective Comics remains a source of solace. I am certain that Dini will tie together this story arc in a satisfactorily fashion. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Paul Dini
Pencils: Dustin Nguyen
Inks: Derek Fridolfs

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a beaten up Bruce Wayne crawling into Wayne Manor. Bruce tells Alfred to quickly take him to the cave. Alfred helps Bruce to his feet and carries him out of the study where the grandfather clock entrance to the cave is located.

Bruce has his hand hidden inside of his trench coat. Alfred then punches Bruce in the face and then disarms him by taking the gun. We realize that it is Hush masquerading as Bruce. Alfred reveals that the real Bruce Wayne called him from the Batmobile to warn Alfred about Hush arriving at the mansion and trying to impersonate Bruce.

Alfred then opens up a can of whoop-ass on Hush. Unfortunately, Hush had a throwing star hidden up his sleeve and he stabs Alfred in the shoulder and then gets the upper hand on Alfred. Hush then pulls Alfred back in the study. Hush says that the entrance must be in this room since Alfred was in such a hurry to guide Hush out of this room. Hush then figures that the entrance is behind the grandfather clock. Hush opens up the entrance to the Batcave. Hush then puts his gun to Alfred’s head and says that he no longer has any use for Alfred.

We then cut to twenty minutes earlier with Hush at his hospital and Batman strapped to an operating table. Hush reveals how he used some of his inheritance to purchase the services of Mr. Freeze in order to construct the machine to keep Catwoman’s heart alive when removed from her chest. Of course, even with Mr. Freeze’s nobel worthy technology, Catwoman’s heart can only remain alive for a few hours outside of her body.

Batman then quietly mumbles for Hush to come close and listen to Batman’s offer. Hush leans in and Batman grabs Hush’s necklace with his teeth and pulls Hush closer. Batman then head buts Hush. Hush’s thugs then rush to Hush’s assistance. Batman grabs one of the saws from one of the thugs and cuts his restraints. Batman springs from the operating table and begins to brawl with Hush’s thugs.

Hush then takes this opportunity to make a quick exit figuring that his thugs will be able to detain Batman long enough for Hush to get to Wayne Manor get into the Batcave and kill Alfred.

We see Batman finish off the thugs. Batman then contacts Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific and tells to come to the old Sacred Heart hospital immediately and that Selina’s heart is at this location hooked into Mr. Freeze’s machine.

We then snap back to the present with Hush about to shoot Alfred. Suddenly, Batman comes crashing through the window and punches Hush. Hush fires his guns “gangsta style” at Batman. (Dude, you will never hit anyone firing your guns in that moronic manner.) Batman lunges into Hush and the two of them fall down the steps leading down into the Batcave.

Hush stands up and is stunned and overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Batcave. Hush yells out that the Batcave is magnificent. Hush wonders what Bruce’s parents would think of Bruce squandering the family money in such a self-indulgent manner. Hush says that this Batcave is an attempt to salve a spoiled brat’s broken heart. Hush says that Bruce’s parents would tell Bruce to move on.

Hush’s stitches on his face have started to bleed due to the fight. Hush grabs opens one of Batman’s first aid kits and wraps his face back up in bandages. Batman retorts that Hush’s parents would call him a murderer. Hush snaps that Bruce always tries to keeps things black and white, but the fact is that Bruce would have done the same if they had switched places.

We then flashback to the night when Elliot brought Peyton to his home to see if Peyton could charm his mother and talk some sense into Elliot’s mother. On the way into the house, Elliot crosses paths with his mother’s attorney. The attorney tells Elliot “Good luck” and then leaves. Elliot asks his mother why her attorney was here. Elliot’s mother reveals that she has changed her will and has cut Elliot out of the will. That Elliot will not inherit a penny of his family’s fortune.

Elliot snaps that his mother is taking away everything from him. That his inheritance was his one chance to go to medical school. Elliot’s mother snaps that it will be final once her attorney files the paperwork. Elliot’s mother comments that she does not know why Elliot stayed with her for this long. Elliot’s mother states that she should have forced Elliot out on his own so he could have grown up and made his own way just like Bruce Wayne did.

Elliot screams for his mother to stop comparing him to Bruce. We then see Peyton leaving the house, getting into her car and following the attorney. Peyton then rams the attorney’s car and causes him to wreck on the side of the road. The attorney steps out of his wrecked car and asks Peyton if she is crazy. Peyton then hits the attorney with a large rock and kills him.

Peyton quickly calls one of her father’s thugs and tells him that she needs his help in cleaning up a mess. We cut back to Elliot telling his mom that he is going to take control of his life just like when he killed his father. Elliot’s mother is horrified that Elliot killed his father. Elliot then uses a pillow and suffocates his mother to death. While smothering his mother Elliot says “Hush, mother.”

Peyton then enters the room and hands Elliot the attorney’s briefcase. Peyton tells Elliot to burn the new will and that he will be able to keep his family’s fortune. Peyton says that the attorney died from a hit and run accident and that her father is taking care of the details.

Elliot tells Peyton that his mother was still weak from her chemotherapy and she stumbled and then crushed her windpipe on the bedside table. Peyton then tells Elliot that he has everything he wanted: her, the money and a way out together.

However, an hour after Elliot’s mother’s funeral, Elliot jetted out to Paris on his own. Elliot could not stand to be tied down again. We snap back to the present with Hush telling Batman that Peyton was a sweet girl but way too needy. Hush then states that he heard that Peyton recently came to a bad end.

Batman then dives out from the shadows and attacks Hush. Hush gets the upper hand on Batman by shooting Batman in the chest a couple of times. We then see Alfred at the Bat-computer. Suddenly, there is a massive rumble and the ground shakes. We then see that the giant robot Tyrannosaurus Rex come to life and charging after Hush.

Hush fires a bunch of bullets into the T-Rex’s head causing the robot to collapse to the ground. Nightwing and Robin then appear on the scene. Hush runs from Dick and Tim and says that he is not going to waste time fighting when he can go ahead and make a quick getaway.

Hush then climbs aboard the Bat-gyrocopter. Batman lunges and grabs a hold of the gyrocopter as Hush takes off into the air. Batman growls that Hush does not get to come into the Bat-cave and attack my people. Hush states how Batman has already lost and is acting out of sheer desperation. Hush barks that Bruce never thinks ahead and always attacks without studying his opponents’ weaknesses.

Bruce asks Hush why he thinks that Batman took off his cape. Hush looks up and sees that his bandages are beginning to get caught up in the gyrocopter’s blades. Hush is trapped onto the blades and the gyrocopter begins to crash. Batman leaps clear of the gyrocopter. The gyrocopter then crashes into the wall and explodes.

We shift forward to Alfred tending to Batman’s wounds. Nightwing and Robin tell Batman that they could not find any sign of Hush’s body. Bruce then thanks Alfred, Dick and Tim for their help. Bruce says that Hush said earlier that “We live in deeds, not years…we should count time by heartthrobs.”

Bruce adds that he realizes that he rarely does that. Alfred then points out that Hush left out the last line of that quote that goes “He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.” Alfred then places his hand on Bruce.

We cut to Dr. Mid-Nite finishing his surgery on Selina. Dr. Mid-Nite tells Mr. Terrific that Selina’s chances of a full recovery are good. However, Dr. Mid-Nite is not too sure that she will ever be running around rooftops and diving off buildings.

We then see Catwoman in the astral plane meeting with Zatanna while Catwoman’s body lies in the hospital room recovering from the surgery. Catwoman asks if this is the afterlife. Zatanna says that Catwoman is not dead. Zatanna then gives Catwoman a small bottle. Catwoman asks if the bottle is full of a magical cure-all that will make her good as new. Zatanna responds that it is aloe vera and for Catwoman to rub it on her wound when the itching gets bad.

Catwoman says that she must have really been hurt bad. Zatanna replies that she will let Dr. Mid-Nite give Catwoman the details of her injuries. Zatanna then instructs Catwoman to take the ointment in the bottle and use it each day just before sunset and all nights of the next full moon. Zatanna smiles and says maybe she kicked the “aloe vera” ointment up a notch.

Zatanna disappears and Catwoman says to herself that she is going to wake up and she will be right where she was before: homeless, in pain and alone. We then shift back to Selina’s hospital room. Bruce enters the room and sits next to Selina’s bed. Selina appears to be still unconscious from the surgery.

Bruce touches Selina’s face. Bruce states how tonight he looked into a mirror and saw an ugly distortion of himself. A demon consumed by jealousy and greed. Bruce continues that he does not now how to begin to atone for all that Elliot did to Selina. Bruce says that he never wanted any harm to come to Selina.

Bruce states that Hush said that when Bruce saw Selina’s heart die that part of Bruce’s heart would die, too. Bruce says that Hush was right. That there has only been one woman who has really held Bruce’s heart. Bruce says that he locked that part of himself away after his parents died. That his heart hurt too much to risk exposing it again.

Bruce continues that despite his best efforts, that Selina broke through and she was the first to touch his heart and remind Bruce that he still has one. Bruce says that he does not know if they could ever have more than they have already had. And Bruce does not know if Selina would even want to have anything from Bruce after what happened with Hush.

Bruce stands up and says that “Tonight I’m only sure of one thing. Whatever the future holds, wherever life takes me…I will always love you.” Bruce then bends down and kisses Selina’s forehead. Bruce then turns and begins to walk out of the room. Selina, still with her eyes closed, says “I’m awake.”

Bruce turns around and asks her how long she has been awake. Selina answers from the moment that Bruce entered the room. Bruce and Selina then engage in a sexy kiss.

We slide forward two months and see Selina relaxing on some tropical island. Selina is making a video recording to Hush. Selina states how there are happy endings even if they only last for one night like her happy ending for Bruce did. Selina then says that she is making this video to Elliot in order to give herself a sense of closure. Selina continues that she will hide this video in a place where Elliot could find it.

Selina states that Elliot struck at her and Bruce’s hearts. So, Selina thought about what was near and dear to Elliot’s heart. Selina says that the answer was money. More specifically the family fortune that Elliot murdered his parents to receive. Therefore, Selina vowed to separate Elliott from his family fortune.

Selina reveals to Elliot that she had Oracle uncover the account numbers and locations of where Elliot’s money was being kept. Then Selina had Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn steal all of Elliot’s money. Selina also reveals that Slam Bradley began shaking down all of his informants on any information about where Hush might be currently hiding out.

We then cut to Hush watching the end of Selina’s video. Selina smiles and says that she paid her friends some of Elliot’s money, then gave some to charity and then used some to help rehabilitate the drugged homeless hospital staff that Hush was using for his thugs. And of course, Selina kept the lion’s share of Elliot’s family fortune for herself.

Hush is enraged that he is now penniless and stalks off into a dark alley. End of issue.

The Good: Detective Comics #850 was an enjoyable conclusion to this nicely crafted Hush story arc. This issue is heavy with action, but there are also two nicely crafted dramatic scenes. Dini moves this issue along at a fine pace as the issue starts off quickly and then eases back with the flashback scene and then kicks it back up a notch with the final fight scene and then slows things down once more for a dramatic ending.

All of the fight scenes were done well. It was cool to see Alfred kicking some ass. The fight scene in the Batcave was particularly exciting. I loved that Dini actually brought the big robotic T-Rex to life in order to join the fight against Hush. This was a neat touch to make the fight in the Batcave that much more memorable.

Of course, even though the action scenes took center stage in Detective Comics #850, Dini also delivered solid dialogue and enjoyable character work. The best character work is rightly reserved for Hush and Batman. Dini has done a fine job taking this story arc to further flesh out Hush’s character. Hush has always had potential, but Dini finally took that potential and made Hush a more compelling character in this story arc.

Throughout this story arc, I have enjoyed all of the flashback scenes involving Elliot. The flashback in this issue was masterfully crafted as Elliot appeared both sympathetic and horribly reprehensible at the same moment. Dini has done an impressive job breathing life into Bruce’s high society past throughout this story arc. Bruce’s high society life seems to be ignored by most writers.
My favorite scene was the one between Bruce and Selina at the hospital. This scene was incredibly emotional as Dini displayed a nice feel for the complex and volatile relationship that Bruce and Selina have had over the years. It was a refreshing change of pace to see Bruce open up so candidly and expose an actual warm and caring heart that normally is as cold and hard as ice.

Of course, this is still the goddamn Batman that we are talking about and I appreciate that Dini made a point that Bruce and Selina’s “happy ending” only lasted for one night. This reminds the reader of the fact that Bruce is still an emotionally damaged person who is probably not capable of sustaining a serious and stable relationship with any woman.

Detective Comics #850 ending was excellent as Catwoman got her revenge in a manner that most hurts Hush and in a manner that was in keeping with Selina’s character. This was the exact payback that the reader had been craving would be dished out on Hush.

Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs combine to deliver some decidedly average artwork. I have seen some of Nguyen’s pencils and they look nice. They certainly look much better than when they are inked by Fridolfs. Having said that, the Batcave was fantastic. Nguyen crams plenty of Easter Eggs into these panels set in the Batcave. I believe that we saw just about every single version of the Batmobile ranging from the original one to the 1960’s TV show Batmobile to the ones seen in the various Tim Burton Batman movies all the way up to the most recent Batman movie.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Detective Comics #850 was a pleasant ending to a well crafted story arc. Dini used this opportunity to evolve Hush’s character as well as to flesh out the history of Gotham’s high society a bit more. This finale delivered enough action and drama that it should have broad appeal to a large cross section of comic book readers. If you missed out on the Hush story arc then I would certainly recommend checking this story arc out when it is released in trade paperback format.

2 thoughts on “Detective Comics #850 Review

  1. I absolutely agree about the art. Dustin Nguyen is capable of such great looking artwork – just look at the cover for proof – but somehow it just looks really flat and boring after it’s inked and colored.

  2. Great review Rokk; I think Dini did a great job on this arc. He made Hush a truly complex character; who wouldn't be screwed up with a mother like that> At the same time, Dini shows that it indeed is the choices we make and the deeds we do that determine our fate.

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