A book about Batman’s Arsenal should be filled with lots of pictures and detailed information about the gadgets of the World’s Greatest Detective, artist’s cross sections of the Dark Knight’s fleet of Batmobiles, and an insightful look at the Caped Crusader’s Batcave. Unfortunately, this isn’t that book.
Written by Matt MacNabb, creator of LegionsofGotham.org, Batman’s Arsenal: An Unauthorized Encyclopedic Chronicle is over 450 pages that are painfully void of an pictures. I understand that this is an unauthorized book, so there wasn’t a license to get any images from DC Comics, but surely there could be some sort of artist renderings. If not, then what’s the point of this book? Even as a huge Batman fan, I’m not going to read this book cover to cover. I would much rather get one of the DK Visual Encyclopedia Books on Batman, they’re about the same price and have amazingly detailed original artwork.
Batman’s Arsenal: An Unauthorized Encyclopedic Chronicle includes:
- A half-hearted “Bat-ography” compiling a rather sparse list of Batman media in the 75 year history.
- Looks at the Batmobile, Bat Flight, Batarang, Batboat, Batcave, Batcycle, Bat-Signal, Batsuit, Utility Belt, Batman, and Firearms in that rather confusing order.
- An Index
I’m not one to stomp on someone’s hard work, but this would have been a way better blog series on the Legions of Gotham site using credited pictures to really grasp the stylistic arsenal of Gotham’s vigilante. Comics and movies are an extremely visual medium featuring technologies and objects that often do not exist in the real world. Simply using words to describe the nuances and stylized history of these objects is extremely hard to do. MacNabb does not succeed in this and the disorganization of the book does little to help.
This book offers a good “real world” look at each gadget in Batman’s Arsenal from inspirations to design stages both in the comics and on the screen. However, without seeing these designs or inspirations, this information is somewhat useless. MacNabb was able to get famed Batman actor, Adam West, to give a preface to the book, but even his generic eight sentence quote isn’t enough to hold any weight.
Batman’s Arsenal: An Unauthorized Encyclopedic Chronicle is an overpriced and underwhelming experience full of content that is as muddled as the title. At $32.95, I cannot recommend this paperback to anyone, Bat-Fan or not. With so many other great authorized Batman books at a comparable price like Batman Animated, Batman: A Visual History, and Batmobile: The Complete History, this book is simply not worth buying.
Batman’s Arsenal: An Unauthorized Encyclopedic Chronicle is a 1 out of 10 stars!
Kyle Dodson is a writer, comedian, Rock Solid Podcast producer, Batman aficionado, facial hair connoisseur, and oxford comma supporter.