Ryan Thomason

The Dark Knight Manual: Book Review

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So, you think you have what it takes to be Batman? Well read this manual and weep about how you can’t.

Not to say that The Dark Knight Manual is bad, it’s awesome in all actuality. It reads like Bruce had pieced together this little book that maybe he keeps on a shelf next to the fireplace in the Batcave. A kind of book he pulls out, adds a little to it, from documentation to blueprints of the Batcave with post it notes and other notes written by Alfred and Lucius Fox. There are pictures layered within the pages that you can flip through on that page.

I had fun at the end with the profile files Batman keeps on James Gordon, John Blake, Joker, Harvey Dent, Catwoman and Bane. That’s just naming a few. Around halfway through the book, I realized that I was reading everything in Christian Bales, Bruce Wayne voice. I’m not sure what that means but maybe it’s just that this has the feel of Bruce keeping a document for himself and not the work of Batman. In a way, they are sometimes one but separate people, it’s a necessity. This book needs to have more of a Bruce Wayne documentation feel than a Batman one. If it was done in a tone that Batman had created it, there would be a lot of blood splatter over the pages and the only notes would be his to hide his identity.

I had a great time reading through this book, it’s already made a place on my grand display area for my super geeky books. (Sorry Drew Struzan artbook, you got regulated to the shelf) The feel that it was pieced together by someone and you’re kind of “finding” it is a great touch. From the grid paper pages to the crisp pictures and hand drawn art. It covers the equipment, the people he’s met, his training, anything you can think of that you wanted to know about Batman, but with a slight personal touch. There are maps you can fold out, pictures to flip through, and tons of little things that you find yourself playing with on the pages that just add a whole new degree of fun to the book. I feel like how my kids must feel when they get these kinds of books, the enjoyment of absorbing yourself a little bit more into the work because there is so many little treats to play with littered through the book.

If you’re looking for spoilers about the Dark Knight Rises movie, if you paid attention through the book you can pick up little bits and pieces. When you get to the last page, a memo in fact, it all comes together and you start to see where the movie is possibly heading. I”ll just say that I’m excited. So very, very excited. This is a well done book by Insight Editions and well worth the price for fans of The Batman, especially if you want to show it off to your friends. As you should.

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