Dark Night: A True Batman Story

Dark Night: A True Batman Story
Author: Paul Dini
Illustration: Eduardo Risso
Released: 2016

Publisher: Vertigo
Hardback
Purchased at Barnes and Noble

This is not a Batman story. This is a true story about a man who has it all (except for a good woman) thanks to his brilliant writing on acclaimed cartoon shows “Tiny Toon Adventures” and “Batman: The Animated Series.” Paul Dini’s novel (more like autobiography) focuses on his successes and the sudden acts of violence committed against him that changed everything. Along his road to recovery, Dark Knight characters show up mocking him, or encouraging him to never give up. I’ll try my best not to reveal spoilers as I review this great book.

The Pros: For not being a story about Batman, the Caped Crusader and the Joker create some memorable encounters in Paul Dini’s consciousness. Both grapple over how Paul should respond to being mugged and beaten nearly to death. Batman is true to his character on what he would have done differently if he were in that situation, and the Joker is his true sick and twisted self. Be advised that this brutal story is not sugar-coated. The language is what you would expect it to be if you were witnessing such a crime, and the violence can be very graphic. Even some of the people in Paul’s life are depicted with no filter or self-respect. This all adds to the heaviness of the story and is a reminder that it all happened- it wasn’t created for some fictional story. Non-comic book readers will enjoy this book as much as anyone. It was fun to see many different villains enter Paul’s mind and either argue with him or convince him that he was the problem. The nurse with the needle twist was frightfully good!

The ending shows that anyone can make a comeback no matter what they have been through physically or mentally. It also shows that others will measure your success in a way that you never thought of. The small scenes where Paul is playing as Buster Bunny on his Super NES or using Batman: The Animated Series bubble bath were much-appreciated. They reminded me of being a child and how I enjoyed those years with the same characters.

The Cons: There was a lot of hype around this novel before I read it. My expectations were high, and the actual product wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be. Let’s just say the scene where Paul imagines Batman saving him and taking on the thugs redeemed this novel for me. Who hasn’t replayed events in their minds when a hero swoops in and defeats the bad guys?

The true hero of this story doesn’t need a cape and mask.

Jer gives it 4/5.

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