The Dark Knight Manual by Brandon T. Snider (book review).

There are two different editions of this book, ‘The Dark Knight Manual’. The original US edition from Insight Editions as I discovered when doing some research had a CD whereas the Titan Books edition didn’t. Ever the curious reviewer, I sought out the Insights Edition to see what was in it. Beneath the Gotham City pouch at the back of the book is the concealed CD which contains fourteen blueprints/photos from the book for wallpaper for your computer. Based off this knowledge, it’s entirely your choice as to which edition you get.


As can be seen from the title and especially the sub-title, ‘Tools, Weapons, Vehicles & Document From The Batcave’, ‘The Dark Knight Manual’ covers all the information you need about the latest trilogy version’s technology of the Batman starring Christian Bale. On top of that, there are a few selected biographies at the back related to some of his friends and enemies. Oddly, neither Alfred Pennyworth nor Lucas Fox get files of their own and Bruce Wayne’s life before donning the cowl is covered but no psychological profile. With all the memos contained, one suspects that they removed their own entries for the sake of their own security.

This book uses the same technique as the ‘Vault’ books with various pouch and photo inserts and occasionally I still had to touch the regular photo on page to ensure they weren’t those which should show the quality of the printing.

If you’re thinking of scratching building lookalikes for some of the bat-equipment, then this book is a mine full of close-up information and in some cases, even carries the blueprints, although I doubt if anyone is going to make a full-size Tumbler yet.


Through the eyes of Bruce Wayne, you can read comments and see the pictures as to why there were changes made in the bat-costume and the differences from Batcave to Wayne Industries in looking after his equipment especially as taking it to the dry cleaners after use wasn’t really an option. Considering the bat costume is kept in an airtight cabinet when not in use, one can’t help wondering why Wayne couldn’t have come up with a better way of preserving his work area as the echoes must surely become disturbing. Then again, maybe that’s why he took on that bass-like voice. Considering the number of layers the bat-suit contains, I’m surprised it’s not stiffer than it looks. As an armour, it’s designed to protect the wearer from harm. It also makes me wonder why Wayne Enterprises, while Bruce Wayne was away, just didn’t sell the manufacture rights to another company although considering how expensive the modified version was might have worked against it. Even so, mass manufacture could have reduced the price and made it a viable proposition.


As a casebook, this is a nice way to wander away for an hour or so and see what made the Batman tick. About the only thing missing is showing how to drive the Tumbler but it can’t be that difficult or Jim Gordon wouldn’t have been able to master it within minutes. A nice edition to add to your bat-collection but keep it away from any of Ra’s al Ghul’s men.

GF Willmetts

June 2014

(pub: Insight Editions. 112 page illustration with inserts, including a CD, hardback. Price: about £ 8.00 (UK) if you know where to look. ISBN: 978-1-60887-104-9)

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