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Batman: The World of the Dark Knight Hardcover – Jul 2 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
The book contains numerous drawings, detailed information on some of the characters, and a detailed timeline on the well-known character from the DC universe. The book is up-to-date with current comic books as it will bring you up to speed with the New 52 series at DC. It is a great book to introduce your kids to the Batman and his world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Many "historical" books like this will mention either key moments or key books published throughout the years, but this one included a full story synopsis of each book referenced. I thought this was very helpful as it gives me an idea as to why the book is worth mentioning (without having to search out that back issue to see what this is all about).
All in all, I think I would still only recommend this to only the most rabid Batman fan, but casual fans may find it entertaining as well.
As with most of DK's publications surrounding particular major franchises, 'Batman - The World of the Dark Knight' serves as a storage facility of information for the more hardened fan and the general passer-by alike, celebrating DC's brooding character of the Batman in his entire run so far, from his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 (1939) to the latest New 52 reboot of Batman (Volume 2) #1.
This compendium, first published in early 2012, explores Batman's influence and storylines, starting from his war-time Golden Age adventures, retroactively placed onto the parallel world of Earth-Two, going on to look at his science-fiction themed times during the Silver Age of the 50s and 60s, and continuing into the Bronze, Dark and Modern Ages that explore a darker character taken back to his pulp-fiction roots. Additionally, there are double-spread pages that examine the relationships between Batman/Bruce Wayne and his fellow superheroes within the various teams he has been a part of during the years, such as the Justice League and the Outsiders, for instance, as well as character bios on Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl and Batwoman.
In order to examine how Batman and his supporting cast members/extended family have changed over the years in order to bring the character up to a more modern standard, there are key comic book issues that are explored in detail, taking frames from the publications themselves, with explanatory notes to accompany them. These include such famous titles and issues such as the Dark Knight's aforementioned first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, where he battled low-level street crime wearing a home-made batsuit, and Final Crisis #6, published in January 2009, where Batman supposedly died after being targeted by Darkseid's deadly Omega Beam (in actuality, being sent back in time to the dawn of man), as well as other such milestone issues.
Additionally, major storylines are outlined in double-page spread format where Batman has had some major involvement, such as the famous Knigtfall saga, where the supervillain Bane was successful in breaking the Dark Knight's back, thereby passing the mantle temporarily onto the hot-headed Azrael. Also included are major plots such as 'Death in the Family' and 'Under the Red Hood', wherein the second Robin, Jason Todd, was beaten to death by the Joker and subsequently restored to life as a raged gun-toting vigilante via cosmic causalities, and 'Infinite Crisis', the early 00s follow up to the original reality-altering event known as the 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'. In addition, very minimally explored are the many alternate versions of Batman/Bruce Wayne on the vast parallel Earths that make up the DC Multiverse, such as the Batman Beyond reality and the Elseworlds' Earth of 'Batman & Dracula: Red Rain', amongst others.
Overall, 'Batman - The World of the Dark Knight' is another great example of Dorling Kindersely's attempt to put together a full-rounded history of a famous franchise's leading superhero creation. It is important to stress that this publication explicitly focuses on the Batman featured within the comic books, and not within any of the live-action/animated television and film adaptations, video games or any other tie-in media featuring America's favourite Caped Crusader. There is, of course, always room to improve and to expand on these such publications. However, on this occasion, I believe DK have provided both beloved Batman fans and the newbie comic book reader with a general history of the Dark Knight Detective that spans over nearly seventy years of storylines and adventures throughout the DC Universe.
Also included are two collectable card prints of Batman, as featured on the front cover, and of his arch-nemesis, the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker.
It's not a graphic novel nor a prose book but more a large glossy paged look at Batman with lots of artwork and random paragraphs throughout giving you facts about the Dark Knight. There's an extensive look at Batman such as the variants on the suits he's worn, the Batmobiles he's driven, his Rogues Gallery, and if you've ever wondered what he eats for breakfast or what his workouts are like, this is included too (high protein/carb diet, lots of cardio and weights - duh!).
There's also a look at Batman through the various comic ages - Golden, Silver, Bronze, Dark, and Modern - so you can see how the character has evolved over time and how he was perceived in different time periods. Some of the artwork of the Golden Age is corny but kind of cool.
Also for those who're not well versed in Batman books there's a guide to all of the main Batman storylines which could serve as a reading list for those looking to get into the character. The storylines explored are: Dark Knight Returns, Year One, Killing Joke, Death in the Family, Arkham Asylum, Knightfall, No Man's Land, Under the Red Hood, Final Crisic, RIP, Batman Inc, and the New 52. Pretty extensive and a faultless guide to the great Batman books (though I'd personally not include the awful Death in the Family book).
I'm not sure who the audience is for these kinds of books - maybe kids, probably fanboys? - but for most Batman fans this is an easily missed book that sets down in print precisely what's in Batman's utility belt, precisely who he is - and I think that's missing the point of the character. We don't need to know these kinds of details, the broad strokes of the character - the nobility, the discipline, the heart and light beneath the darkness, the lack of superpowers and the humanity - is what makes Batman so cool and interesting. It's a decent overview of the character but for those looking to get into Batman, go straight to the books mentioned above - it's far more satisfying and gets you to the core of the character.