It was recently revealed that Ben Affleck will not only Batman in the new Superman vs Batman : Dawn of Justice movie but has also been handed the “keys” to the Batman franchise afterwards, both co-writing and directing the new instalment in the series. This will be a difficult task for anybody after the excellent job that Christopher Nolan did with his take on The Dark Knight. Not just because Nolan’s films were the definitive take on the Caped Crusader but because most of the best villains have been brought to the big screen before and in some of the most iconic ways. This leaves Affleck with the headache of how he brings a fresh story for his Batman after the (hopefully) epic battle that he will have had with The Man of Steel.
I have recently subscribed to the DC Graphic Novel Collection that has been released in the UK. The first issues were a two-part Batman story that I already owned but was gratefully reminded of, Hush. The story is written by Jeph Loeb and is a great introduction to any fair-weather Batman fan. Not to ruin it for anyone that may want to read it in the future but Hush involves a new villain who manipulates, utilises and orchestrates a “game” against Batman using the biggest names in his rogue’s gallery.
The story involves The Riddler, Two-Face, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn and of course The Joker. It also involves Batman’s extended comic book family with everyone from Commissioner Gordon to grown-up Robin Nightwing getting a decent part of the story. It also involves a pretty substantial role for Superman too.
You couldn’t adapt it as a straight story, too much of it involves some sort of knowledge of Batman’s past adventures and intricate canon, but taking the general idea would give you a great template and jumping off point for a newer big-screen version of Gotham’s knight.
For starters, this movie will do something not many other Batman films have managed by introducing a villain from the comics who almost nobody outside of the Batman fan community will know. Hush is brand new, a decent foe for Batman and has a very cool, cinematic look. It means we actually get something brand-new and untested for a Batman movie.
This new villain manipulates and uses Batman’s established villains against him. After Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad we will already have been introduced to Killer Croc, Harley Quinn and The Joker, all who take a prominent part in the story but this would also give a chance for new versions of The Riddler, Scarecrow and Catwoman, as well as loads of other recognisable faces. The story would play as a who’s who of Batman’s greatest villains, each of them getting a piece of the story but none taking the title role which would go to a new, fresh, never before seen on-screen villain.
Affleck’s Batman is supposed to be an older, established and seasoned superhero by this point. That is the other reason why Hush works so well. It is a story in which Batman reflects on his past and pieces together a puzzle from his history. It would be a good way of introducing a larger Bat-Family, from a decent Robin to other lesser-known characters like The Oracle.
The final piece of the Hush puzzle is the challenge of following a story in which Batman and Superman have faced off and battled. That has epic written all over it and you run the risk of taking a noticeable step back with a solo outing. Hush manages to overcome this by being it’s own epic story, with many villains, a childhood related puzzle and a clear challenge for our hero. There is also an option to add Superman if you wanted. He features in a pretty important aspect of the Hush story and could even feature again here.
Overall, Affleck will have his work cut out for him when he begins to put together his own follow-up to the biggest clash of heroes in cinema history. Hush offers him that with a range of villains to face, a decent, well-crafted mystery and some potential for more Superman/Batman crossover if the situation presents itself.