Lee Bermejo is one of those comic artists whose work is rarer than a good Paul W. S. Anderson movie. Now I wouldn’t give two fucks about that if his art wasn’t as exceptionally beautiful as it is. Unfortunately his art is so detailed that we’ll probably never have the chance to see him do an ongoing series. That’s where a project like Batman: Noël comes in. An original graphic novel with a start and an end, out of continuity, that allows him to focus solely on delivering the best work he possibly can without having to deal with any specific deadline. And deliver he did.
Lee Bermejo is a self-taught artist (which makes his art all the more impressive) who is best known for his work with Brian Azzarello on their Joker graphic novel and their current Rorschach mini-series. He has also been the cover artist for the legendary Vertigo comic book series Hellblazer and has provided interior art for Lex Luthor: Man of Steel & Batman/Deathblow: After the Fire.
Batman: Noël will soon be considered a classic. That much I can already tell you.
Batman: Noël tells the story of a vengeful Batman. A Batman that is tired, angry, frustrated and willing to go to the extremes to achieve his goals. A Batman that has lost all faith in forgiveness and compassion. This is not your grand daddy’s Batman. Hell no. The story is presented from the perspective of a narrator who tells the story of Batman hunting down Bob, the Joker’s bagman, in the hopes of catching everybody’s favorite clown prince of crime who just escaped Arkham. The narrator tells the story as an alternate version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and presents Batman as Scrooge, a seemingly heartless and extremely wealthy man with no desire to celebrate or even recognize Christmas and the symbolic that comes with it. Like Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale, Batman is visited by three ”ghosts” that will show him his past, hist present and his possible future.
Now lets take a minute and talk about the art. Oh FUCK. This has got to be one of the most beautifully drawn books I have ever read. Every goddamn panel is a masterpiece. The amount of details Lee Bermejo puts on every single page is mind-blowing. One can tell that this book is a labor of love and dedication. Lee Bermejo is an artist in the purest form. The vibrant colors by Barbara Ciardo make Bermejo’s art all the more realistic & outstanding.
All in all I would say that this is a damn fine book. It is one of these books you can pick up from time to time and enjoy all over again. It is a very simple but very entertaining story, and the art, as I said before, is out of this world. It is definitely a book I’ll enjoy picking up year after year around christmas time.