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Batman: Noel Hardcover – November 8, 2011
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For a hero with no superpowers, Batman shows a remarkable resistance to market saturation, and here slips comfortably into the seemingly awkward fit of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. To be sure, the virtuoso art of Bermejo, who drew Brian Azzarello’s Joker (2008), helps as he not only portrays the physical world with jaw-dropping precision but also captures the metaphysical nature of his subject. You see every line and curve as streetlights glint off the molding of Batman’s cowl, even as you feel the harshness of the shadows he carries within him. You see the grime on Gotham’s streets, even as you feel the grime in its soul. In his first time out as scripter, Bermejo manages to plumb the parallels of Batman and Scrooge effectively enough and speaks in a strong narrative voice as Batman uses a small-time hood (the Bob Cratchit stand-in) as bait to hunt down the Joker. With the likes of Catwoman and Superman filling in for Christmas ghosts, Bermejo presents a piece of gritty urban action with some real Christmas heart, all wrapped up in some truly stunning visuals. --Jesse Karp
“Amazing. This book is a visual treat.”—The New York Times
“Simply terrific.”—Scripps Howard News Service
“The caped crusader channels the gravelly paranoia of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns while a desperate father working for the Joker lends the story its moral weight and inevitable humanitarian payoff.”—Paste Magazine
“Absolutely exquisite… I'd be more than happy to add reading "Batman: Noel" and watching it to my yearly yuletide festivities.”—Yahoo! Movies
"Bermejo has simply created an instant classic with BATMAN NOEL that is larger than any holiday."—Ain’t It Cool News
“Surprising, new, gorgeous to look at, and also incredibly heartfelt. So you know, the perfect stocking stuffer.”—MTV GEEK
“[Bermejo]’s incorporating his unique style to create a fresh kind of Batman tale, lending it a distinctive flavor that would be impossible for any other artist to replicate.”—IGN
“More than just a regular graphic novel.”—UGO
“More than a clever entertainment, and does more than just prove that Bermejo is a fine writer.” —The Morton Report
“Some artists like Bermejo seem to be regarded as having objectively beautiful illustrations. Bermejo is able to take characters we know and love and give them a sinister and realistic twist that makes them pop out of the pages. Batman Noel is worth picking up for the artwork alone."—Bloody_Disgusting.com, Pick of the Week
“Gives the classic story the dark edge that's inherent in anything set in Gotham City.”—Newsarama
“Lush.”—Comic Book Resources
Top customer reviews
The story is clever in the way it follows a Christmas Carol, without beating the reader over the head with comparisons. Further the artwork, like all of Bermejo's work, is nothing short of stunning.
Overall this is a short work, but one that packs plenty of quality.
Less exciting is the story itself. Is there anyone who hasn't read and/or seen Dickens' A Christmas Carol in some variation? Is anyone as tired as me of seeing it tweaked and redone for the millionth time? If not for the beautiful artwork, I would have regretted purchasing and reading this holiday-themed graphic novel.
Don't get me wrong; the book is worth it just for the artwork alone. But the story could have been more entertaining. 10 stars (out of 5) for the art; 3 for the average story.
It's the writing that's not quite up to the same level. This is Bermejo's first time as a writer for a comic, and he does a fine job. The story stays very true to Dickens's version. There are no real twists and turns here; it hits all the major beats of the sources material. But with source material as good as Dickens's classic, that's not really a bad thing. A Batman Christmas Carol is what the book promises on the cover, and that is what it delivers. But there've been so many versions of A Christmas Carol over the years, that I just kept finding myself wanting a little more. The story is good and enjoyable, but it doesn't really say or explore anything new about the Dark Knight.
Overall, I enjoyed Batman Noel and am proud to have it sitting on my shelf. The story is a fun holiday read, but it's Bermejo's artwork that is the real selling point here. It's almost worth picking up this book just to look at the pictures. If you're looking for a fun, but not entirely innovative, Batman holiday story, you won't be disappointed.