I came to a realization when I was playing Arkham City: Poison Ivy looks weird wearing clothes. She’s been through many looks of course, all the way from Bettie Page in a green leotard to photosynthetic skin and ivy covering her naughty bits. It’s just her particular look in Arkham City, where she’s wearing a belly shirt and nothing else, looks so odd. Why (I mean, other than ratings reasons) would she even wear clothes at all?
Poison Ivy is beyond human society. The world of men is corrupt and hypocritical, and Ivy is liberated from that. She wouldn’t hide her natural body under man-made clothes. Plus clothes are generally made out of exploited plants. Ivy wearing a cotton shirt would be like a vegan wearing leather. If she does wear clothes at all, they would be made out of living plants that willingly give themselves to protect their Earth-mother from the poisoned atmosphere of the urban world.
Batwing had the potential to be so much better than it was. Take all the psychotrope-enhanced noir archetypes of Batman and then transfer them to a completely new setting, a reflection of Africa as dark and paranoid as Gotham’s reflection of New York. They could’ve made a whole new corner of the DC universe and instead they came up with one of the blandest comics in the New 52, where blank characters fight on a blank backdrop and the only way you’d know it’s set in Africa is because everybody keeps mentioning that it’s in Africa. There is more than one country in Africa, did you know? This is a fact you won’t learn from reading Batwing.
There are many secrets in Gotham, many things never spoken, many dead lips sealed tight and buried in unmarked graves. Gotham, city of closed doors, backroom deals, ancient mysteries, the underworld city always cloaked in darkness. Stone faces peer from every cornice, but they never speak of what they see.
The ultimate secret. A name that cannot be spoken. A face hidden behind an invisible man’s mask.
You see, I first heard of Hush back when I wasn’t really keeping up on superhero comics. He was just a name and an icon floating around whenever I’d stop by the comic shop, a reoccurring echo that kept calling to me. He was the Dark Knight Detective’s greatest mystery. His very name was unspeakable. Wearing a trenchcoat and wrapped in concealing bandages, he was an enigma, a secret made flesh.
So reading his actual comic was a bit of a letdown. Hush, the Batman’s deadliest enemy, turned out to be just some angry rich brat who was jealous of Bruce Wayne. Worse still, he didn’t even get to be the mastermind in his own story. He was just another anti-Batman, Killer Moth with a better costume. The mask came off, and the haunting secret was revealed to be just another stock psychopath.
He could have been so much more. So let’s wrap those bandages back around Tommy Elliot’s face, and bring mystery back to Hush…
Hush is the word on the lips of the Gotham underworld, a new player in the game, crueler and cleverer than all the old thugs. Nobody knows his real name or his real face. He’s a shadow at the back of an alley, a whisper on the night breeze. An ultimate mystery for the ultimate detective. And when Batman finally does track him down and unmask him, the mystery doesn’t end there…
Strip off all the layers and beneath… nothing. Like the invisible man whom he so resembles, there’s only emptiness behind that mask. Hush is a living secret, a riddle that changes every time you solve it. You can’t catch Hush, because a secret is not a secret if it is known, and Hush is the embodiment of secrets. He has no origin and no end. The case that Batman can never solve.
Or when the bandages come off, it could be anyone beneath that mask. Just some random no-name thug who wakes up like from a nightmare. You see, Hush is the name you must never speak. For if you speak it, you open yourself to its power. You become the secret. Hush inhabits you. You wrap yourself in bandages and head out into the night.
Or behind the bandages is your own face grinning back at you. A killer doppelgänger, a blank man looking for someone to become. He will kill you and take your place, and nobody will ever know. Perhaps he already has…
Anything could hide behind the mask of the unknown. Gotham’s biggest secret. The faceless man. The silent name.