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THE DARK KNIGHT MANUAL
The other Batman-themed coffee table book that I got the chance to look at is hands down one of the most unique and cool ones I have ever seen. Titled simply "The Dark Knight Manual" I guess it's a How to/Scrapbook of sort put together from the perspective of Bruce Wayne within Chris Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.
This book has everything that a Batman fan wants, especially if you're in love with the recent series of Batman films. Interspersed with news paper clippings, photographs, personal notes from Alfred and Lucius Fox, classified documents from the GCPD and Arkham Asylum, this is the book that we've dreamed about for years. When you crack this open, you'll feel like you're in Gotham City based on the wealth of material.
All three films in the series here are covered in strict detail. They go all the way from Thomas and Martha Wayne's murder to the diabolical schemes of Bane for The Dark Knight Rises. Though some might consider what is written in here a spoiler for the film, I don't see it that way. The sections dealing with the newest film are also written in present tense, implying the events of the film haven't happened yet at the time of the manual's writing.
While the amount of detail about the plot of the series is incredible, that's not even the coolest part. There are any number of sections featuring pull out maps, 'evidence', and notes that will keep you busy looking at it for days. Also the amount of time spent detailing the specifics of the gadgets, weapons, and the suit are great. So many things you might have wondered about all these things are present right here and it just makes you appreciate this interpretation of the character even more. The best examples of this are the “sticky-bomb” gun and the Pneumatic Mangler from The Dark Knight. These two gadgets were both used in the film but are never elaborated upon about their functionality or use and seeing it here makes a lot more sense.
Another cool aspect of the book are the character profiles. Ranging from Jim Gordon to Harvey Dent and the primary villains of the series, Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, and Catwoman (also look for the little piece about Victor Zsasz). This section makes you appreciate the way Chris Nolan has handled Batman's rogues gallery in his film series. Sure he may not have had them all exactly the way we know them in the comic books, but there's a lot of complexity and depth within his handling of them more so than a lot of their comic counterparts.
"The Dark Knight Manual" is a must have for Batman fans. This is the book that we've always wanted but never quite got about the characters, the locations, and the gadgets. Keep in mind this isn't a book about the making of the film, it's about the world within the film and that should be the kind of book we get more often.
Rating: 9 / 10
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