Writer: Matt MacNabb
Preface: Adam West
With Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opening in theaters in nearly two weeks, curious fans will surely flock to bookstores to purchase graphic novels and perhaps some hefty reference books focusing on The Dark Knight. It’s just something to be expected whenever a new movie arrives.
The latest tome to hit shelves is that of Batman’s Arsenal: An Unauthorized Encyclopedic Chronicle. As the title suggests, the book explores several key aspects of Batman’s crimefighting armaments in depth: Batmobile; Bat Flight; Batarang; Batboat; Batcave; Batcycle; Bat-Signal; Batsuit; Utility Belt; Batman himself; and Firearms.
Each section is loaded with factoids painstakingly researched by Batman superfan, Matt MacNabb. The categories listed above are explored throughout various forms of media they have appeared in, be it comic books, TV, movies, and more. You will indeed learn various bits of trivia during your read with some quotes from folks who have contributed to Batman’s legacy peppered throughout.
The fact that this is an unauthorized book greatly affects the content, at least in my opinion. On a positive note, the reality that an author is not obligated to pander to any corporation or publisher means they can speak honestly and freely, even though it’s obvious MacNabb isn’t going to lob any heavy criticism at The Caped Crusader.
The negative side of this is rather obvious: absolutely no pictures are included whatsoever. This may not be a big deal for some, but seeing how Batman appears mostly in visual forms of media, it’s an omission that I find extremely difficult to ignore.
I must also admit that despite being highly informative, I didn’t find the read to be very engaging. The book reads more like a textbook or document and doesn’t feel very personable. Perhaps the subject matter and its presentation weren’t meant to enthrall me, as I’m someone who would rather delve into the histories of characters and story arcs, rather than a utility belt. That’s certainly not a bad thing – you just need to be of the audience that will take interest in the minutiae this book delves into.