Tag: comic

Peaceful Thinking: Avengers: Infinity War and Criticism

Infinity War 4

Peaceful Thinking is what I’ll call things that aren’t reviews. This isn’t a review.

It’s almost impossible to write about Avengers: Infinity War. I know, I’ve read plenty about it. Practically every review or think-piece misses some essential part of the film’s composition. Some writers seem upset that they had less of an understanding of what’s going on than they normally do, as characters are barely introduced nor are their powers or importance explained. Others argue that it’s barely a movie, more like a series of setpieces with hardly any character development taking place within or between the explosions and fights. Still others claim that there are no stakes to the film thanks to its very comic book nature and the things that we know comic books do (namely: have something happen, then reverse or retcon that happening issues later). While each of these have a core of truth, I’d suggest that none of them constitute a criticism of any value, at least for a certain kind of viewer.


25 Christmas Things: Day 6 – Batman Noël

There are a few classic stories that get told and retold this time of year. One is A Christmas Carol, which has already made an appearance on this list by way of The Muppet Christmas Carol. Batman Noël, too, owes a great debt to the story of redemption through ghosts originally told by Charles Dickens. In it we see the Caped Crusader go on a whirlwind tour of his hometown, Gotham City, with commentary by 3 familiar faces to DC Comics readers acting as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. While I was initially put off by the comic’s reliance upon the well trod story, writer Lee Bermejo (who also does the drawing) uses the cliche to illuminate some of the roads less traveled in terms of Batman’s psyche.

This story takes place after the death of one of the Robins and Batman is real shaken up about it. He hallucinates a vision of the dead Robin warning him of 3 visitors which will do all the standard Christmas Carol things. Catwoman is the Ghost of Christmas Past, reminding Bats about the way he used to be, more fun and less black and white. Superman arrives in the show-stealing role of the Ghost of Christmas Present. Bermejo writes and draws him as a kind of heavenly being with a glow surrounding him. It’s a great turn. Finally, the Joker is the Ghost of Christmas Future and he’s atypically silent, conforming to the tale’s creepy description. But the thing that makes this all work is the framing story with one of the Joker’s lackeys, Bob, telling the story of how Batman changed in one night to his son, Tim. It’s at once a clever use of the source text and an interesting way of framing a story about superheroes and villains. It takes the sometimes silly things that happen in those stories and makes it more human. That the art is as gorgeous as I’ve seen in a Batman book certainly helps as well, with a great Christmas vibe tinged by the grit and grime that permeate the modern Batman panoply.