It took me three years to read this hardcover. It isn’t that it is super long, but I felt that a Christmas story like this should be read about the holidays, and the narrative is so dense and purple that I’m afraid I couldn’t get through it. Three years in a row I tried, only finally managing to finish this year.
Let’s get the good stuff out first. Lee Bermejo’s art is beautiful, realistic, and striking, as always. His Catwoman looks poured into her shiny leather suit. His Superman is a golden god with a unique take on the S-symbol that has clearly inspired other artists. The Joker is a horrific, realistically-scarred madman. You can’t look at Joker and not feel queasy. Every aspect of the art is a triumph. The flashback costumes of yesteryear. The batmobile that looks like it is ready to rocket off the page. Even the coloring is luxurious.
But man. The story. This is the story of Scrooge if he were Batman with a cold. Bermejo never lets an opportunity for convoluted language and symbolism to pass him by. Bermejo is so desperate to make sure this story is “adult” and serious that it is an absolute chore to read. My god, I’m exhausted just thinking that Bruce Wayne’s quest on crime is the same as Scrooge’s lack of Christmas spirit.
This is a beautiful comic that hurt me to read. So overall, an EVIL comic, but let’s not take away from Bermejo’s immense talent. As an artist, he’s unmatched.