We’re getting closer to Bruce and Selina’s big day, and Nightwing and Superman are taking Batman out for his bachelor party! But where are the other guys? Oh, nevermind, there’s Hush! Oh $#!&! It’s Hush!

I don’t expect much from one-shots or tie-ins. On rare occasions, I’ll be surprised with an excellent issue, but usually, they’re just mediocre. Last week, however, the wedding preludes kicked off with Robin vs Ra’s al Ghul… and I absolutely loved it! Tim Seeley hit all of the right notes. It featured Damian, allowed him to have some quality time with Selina, brought Ra’s into the fold, created some interesting scenarios, and ultimately delivered a strong story that focused on family and relationships. Nightwing vs Hush attempts to do the same but falls short.

It’s no secret that Nightwing is my favorite character, and a lot of that has to do with who Dick Grayson is as a person – mainly his character and nature. In fact, it’s that very nature that had me looking forward to this issue! With the Nightwing leading the way, the solicitation promising the topic of  Bruce’s Best Man, and the preview giving away that this issue would also feature Bruce’s bachelor party, I was excited!  There was no way this wasn’t going to be a fun issue. And from the first page, it was clear that this would, in fact, be fun.

The chapter starts with Bruce, Dick, and Clark starting Bruce’s bachelor party with dinner. First off, anytime you can get Dick and Clark together, it’s an automatic win! It doesn’t hurt that Tim Seeley (and Tom King for that matter) understand these two and their relationship so well. With just a few, brief lines, everyone’s relationships are well established, and the banter serves for an enjoyable read. And the fun continues when it’s revealed that the trio are having dinner at… Bat Burger.

Things, unfortunately, go downhill shortly after this. We learn what the real plan is for the bachelor party – trust me, it will make you smile – but the trio is interrupted by some drama. What else would you expect in Gotham? Am I right? An explosion takes Superman away from the trio, and in his absence, Hush takes his opportunity to attack Batman and Nightwing.

Like the Joker and Ra’s, Hush heard about the wedding, and he isn’t too happy. But his motivation throughout this entire issue is just… weird. He’s mad that he’s not the Best Man, and I can’t grasp why he’d expect to be. Everything about Batman and Hush’s relationship since Tommy became Hush, has been one of conflict and tension. Why would he expect to be, or want to be for that matter, the Best Man in this scenario? I mean, there hasn’t been anything remotely positive or friendly between these two characters since Batman: Hush. Had these two reconciled to some degree, then sure. I might understand it better because Tommy is insane, but he’s not insane in this way.

Things only become stranger when Nightwing and Hush fall through a portal to an alternate dimension. Seeley attempts to set-up an interesting conflict, but it leads nowhere. Yeah, there are a few decent moments, but nothing that pays off in the end. In fact, nearly half of the issue is spent simply explaining who Hush is… It’s a waste! If you don’t know who Hush is, or you’re afraid that audiences won’t make connections, put an editor’s not for them to read Hush or even Batman Eternal. Giving Hush’s backstory every time he appears isn’t efficient, and will slog the story for those of us who know him and remember his history.

There’s another weird development with Hush that I’ll save for my breakdowns, but ultimately, I can’t help but feel that he serves no purpose here and shouldn’t have been included. I get that this is a comic book and that DC feels they need to create some sort of conflict, but I would’ve preferred more of a focus on Dick and Bruce. That’s what the focus of this issue should’ve been.

That doesn’t mean Hush couldn’t have been involved. Quite the contrary. There could have been compelling reasons for Hush to insert himself into this story. Simply changing minor approaches – specifically Hush’s motivations (yes, plural) – could have made this book much better.

Finally, at the end of the issue, we get a moment that I was hoping for, and it saves the book to some degree. It’s brief, but it really highlights how incredible Dick is as both a character and friend. So, while the end result isn’t bad, Nightwing vs Hush is a far cry from the success that Robin vs Ra’s al Ghul is.

The Art: I have to give major props to Travis Moore! This book is drawn incredibly well, and he conveys a number of different genres within a mere twenty pages. While there are many aspects that I enjoy about his work, I particular love how he makes his characters emote.  I’ve seen a number of artists that do this through body language and facial expression – which Moore does here – but he takes it a step further and tells endless stories through the character’s eyes! There are multiple panels where you know exactly how a character is feeling or what they’re thinking simply because of the look their giving. That, my friends, is talent.

I’m not overly familiar with Moore’s work, but this issue made me a HUGE fan! I’d love nothing more than to see him take over art duties full-time! He draws one hell of a Nightwing! His pencils are crisp, and his depiction of Dick is equally charming, honest, and sexy AF. And I don’t think he’d be good for Nightwing alone. I feel that Moore would serve as a great addition to books such as Titans, Teen Titans, or Batgirl. His range is strong enough that he can deliver a light-hearted nature without making it come off as juvenile, but also depict some horror/ creepy elements without his art looking like it was attempting to do so. It’s great work, and it’ll be a shame if we don’t see more from him on a regular basis.

I also need to acknowledge Tamra Bonvillain for her colors. Much in the way that Moore captured multiple emotions and genres, Bonvillian manages to accentuate these tones. There are scenes that are vibrant and fun, followed by scenes that are rather grim. Add in Dave Sharpe’s letters – especially his wonderfully executed effects – and you’re left with a final product that is a visual masterclass!

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.

Spoiler

The Good:

Dick. It’s no surprise that Tim Seeley writes a good Dick Grayson. He did it for years, and his understanding of the character really allowed him to highlight Dick’s traits. There are so many subtleties presented in this chapter that it almost knocked the issue out of the park, and it would have if the plot had been stronger… or, you know, actually gone somewhere.

Best Man. At the end of the issue, Bruce and Dick discuss who will be Best Man… And it’s not Dick. I know, I know… I had a slight sinking feeling, but – like Dick – I get it. And I get it for the same reasons that Seeley/ Dick speak to. Dick has been absent for a while. He hasn’t been M.I.A. or anything, but he has been separated to a degree. And on top of that, Clark has really been a stronghold for Bruce lately. This moment goes to show just how much these three men do care for one another though, and it will make you love Dick even more.

Hot. I know I praised the art already, but good Lord! Moore draws a beautiful Dick Grayson! And I know I joke/ discuss Dick’s physical appearance quite a bit, but it’s become a staple for the character, so I feel it’s worth commenting on… Especially here…

Handsome, boyish charm? Check.

Sexy dreamboat? Check.

Dickbutt? Well… That’s a miss, but I guess we don’t need that in every issue, right? One of these three each month will suffice.

The Dude. This was a nice – if random – addition. Fans of “the Dude” will enjoy this just for the sake of its presence. I’ll admit that I chuckled when I first saw him… Even thought it’s not really him… Cause, you know, copyrights and whatnot.

Fishing. I love that Clark and Dick decided that for Bruce’s bachelor party, he should have a day of quiet relaxation. I know so many guys whose dream escape is a day on the lake fishing. Nothing else, just fishing.

 

The Bad:

The Plot. Most of this book served no purpose. And that’s a shame because the potential for this chapter was off the charts! Unfortunately, everything involving Nightwing and Hush led nowhere. The entire conflict was pointless, and that ultimately makes half of the issue pointless. Even the reason for Hush to have a conflict with Batman isn’t consistent here. Which brings me too…

Hush’s Motivations. Tommy is all over the place here. It’s clear that his role wasn’t thought out very well, and it resulted in him feeling shoe-horned in for the sake of drama. I understand the mandate for this though. Editors, publishers, producers, etc, tend to feel that stories need conflict to be good. This would have never been Batman: Prelude to the Wedding: Nightwing. Becuase God forbid we ever just enjoy two characters. But Hush was a miss from the moment he appeared. He’s mad because he’s not Best Man, but as I said earlier, there’s no reason for him to even be considered for Best Man. There’s not even a reason for him to believe he should be Best Man. It’s weird. It would have been more believable had his approach been from the stance of, “You ruined my life, so I’m going to ruin yours. You’re not getting a wedding.” Yes, it’s a bit of a rehash from Hush and Heart of Hush, but at least it would have been in character and consistent.

Hush As Nightwing. This issue also revealed that Hush has undergone more plastic surgery… This time to resemble Dick. Apparently, Tommy realized that he didn’t really want to be Bruce, he wanted to return to what he had as a child, and become Bruce’s best friend… But, again, this doesn’t add up. If this is the case, why would he choose Dick? To the outside world, Dick of more of a son than a best friend. And as this issue points out, Bruce and Dick haven’t had quality time together in a long time. So why on earth would Hush choose to be Dick? There’s potentially two parts to this answer. The first is that it’s just convenient for this story. The second, is that DC is trying to set Hush up as rogue for Dick. I mean, Dick doesn’t really have a huge roster of prominent rogues, and DC doesn’t appear to be able to do anything other than repeat the same conflict with Hush… So, we’ll see.

Batman & Catwoman vs Bruce & Selina. This chapter makes a point to say that Batman and Catwoman are getting married, but not Bruce and Selina… Wait, WHAT!?!? What in the hell does this mean? Does this mean that there won’t be an actual marriage? Will this just be some ceremony with the idea being these two get married? If this is the case, then it’s BS! Either commit or don’t. I can’t help but feel this is a copout so DC doesn’t really have to deal with these two characters getting married… Fans deserve better, so I’m going to hope that Bruce and Selina actually do get married legally (you know, if they actually go through with the wedding at all).

Where Are the Others? Wait, this is a bachelor party for Bruce and the only people in attendance are Clark and Dick? What? Where are Jason and Tim? Specifically Tim! And why doesn’t Tim have his own chapter in this Wedding Prelude series? His inclusion makes more sense than Jason’s, especially when you factor in that the villain in the upcoming Red Hood one-shot is Anarky. And even if you look beyond this, Tim was still passed over for a Joker vs Harley one-shot, which doesn’t even need to exist – or, at the very least, could have been touched on in the main Batman series.

Recommended if:

  • You’re a fan of Dick Grayson.
  • Dick and Clark bring their positive vibes to Gotham.
  • You’re curious to see what Hush is up to and what he thinks about this wedding.

Overall: Batman: Prelude to the Wedding: Nightwing vs Hush is ok, but barely. The plot and threat from Hush are anything but satisfying. Thankfully, we are treated to an incredible intro to the story, and an equally strong conclusion! The best part of the script is easily Dick’s characterization, but the highlight of the issue itself is the incredible art.

SCORE: 6.0/10