This week on Talking Trades Tim was lazy and didn't write a review. That's ok, though, because in stepped trusty Renaldo, with TWO reviews and some love for both Batman and Lee Burmejo. He reviews Batman Noel by Lee Burmejo and Joker by Brian Azzarello and Bermejo. enjoy both reviews after the bump, and stay tuned next week for Tim's review of The Runaways!
Batman Noel -
Lee Bermejo proves that once his again his grit and endurance prospers well on the pages of the Batverse in DCU. After 'Joker' and a vast array of Marvel covers, there's a fluid and continuous dark edge to this book which Bermejo knocks out the park. The pristine penciling and near flawless font make for an even better read, but what ignites the book to a high degree of success is Bermejo's brilliant script. Equating Bruce and his persona to an alter ego a la Scrooge is a stroke of genius and revolving around a lead criminal character on the lam, as well as sympathetic scenes with children, and cameos from heroes and crazy villains of the DCU, make for a swooning gesture. This encapsulates the spirit of charity in a dark Batman manner as he pursues a catch-and-bait criminal to lure out the Joker, but what ensues is a lesson in realizing life can be more sweet than bitter, despite the journey. You also get that happy holiday ending as the ghosts of Batman past, present and future come abound with a Dickens' influence. Definitely a grand time!
It's something that pressed into me the chaos and anarchy, and lack of care that Heath Ledger employed. This reeks of a realism that Nolan encapsulates on film. With Joker out of Arkham, he sets out to take the city back under a bloody vice grip, with henchman Jonny Frost narrating the destruction that ensues. Lee Bermejo's pencils are immaculate as he makes Joker the focal and illuminative pivot of all the panels, incandescent and stand-alone, yet still engraining something sharp, vivid, vibrant and dreary in this dystopian tale. Brian Azzarello's dialogue is totally magnificent as his handle on the Joker, like Ledger's, is highly scary and gut-wrenching. The decadence, violence, murders and debauchery in this book make for a cringe-worthy read...it's got all kinds of gruesome and brutality in it. Seeing various iterations of Croc, Penguin and Riddler among a few certainly portray how Nolan could have fitted them in on-screen but overall, it's best left a stand-alone book. 'Batman: Noel' came out and Bermejo took the step up a notch to scribe it as well, but definitely he learned from Az. It's no wonder Az is kicking ass on the Wonder Woman book. His work on Joker showed how proficient he is at adaptive and innovative writing, with realism and craft as a wizard's wand under his guile. It's a genuflective stance I took on this read, as the inflections painted by the creators do well to show the warped cure there is for this villain...and in doing so, it's something dastardly gory. It's amazing how a horrific character can give such a great story...and Az/Bermejo penned a complete dime. Epic win! Shame that this brutal Joker couldn't be carried over fully to Noel, but that would taint the spirit of Noel. Anyways...I repeat...epic win!