Batman: The Official Coloring Book review

Everyone needs something that allows them to let off some steam. Some people play sports, others fish, while some cook or craft or play video games. While these activities can go hand in hand with hobbies, what one person may engage in for excitement and entertainment, another does so for the purposes of relaxation. After a long, hard day, it’s something you do to unwind, and everyone has their own thing.

Adult coloring books have been pretty popular in recent years, for that very reason: it’s a way to escape back to childhood and engage in an activity you loved as a kid, while getting a sense of accomplishment and industry all the while. Insight Editions– one of the most eclectic and exciting publishers out there– have us covered with Batman: The Official Coloring Book, which delivers exactly what it promises.

So, if you’re expecting anything other than a cool, Batman-themed coloring book, you’ll be disappointed, but… come on.  It’s right there, in the title.  Not the least bit misleading.

This is a coloring book that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike, thanks to its large pages and impressive but not overly complicated images. And yes, I mean that in the best possible way: a lot of coloring books that are marketed for an older audience have intricate patterns and small points that require a steady hand. That’s all well and good, but depending on your patience, skill level, and even personality, having to focus on minute details can be just as stressful as the stress you were wanting to relieve.

The coloring book features over 60 images of Batman, his partners and allies, his rogues gallery, and quite a few vehicles and areas in Gotham City. Each page is an original image as illustrated by Ze Carlos, who has a nice, clean style that reminds me a bit of Freddie Williams II. Batman gets the most representation, of course, but Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, Damian’s Robin, Commissioner Gordon, and of course Alfred all make frequent appearances. It’s a curious blend of styles and eras, as most of the heroes are in their Rebirth costumes (Batman has the larger chest symbol that’s meant to have the yellow outline, Nightwing has buckles about his forearms, Batgirl is in her Burnside suit), while the villains are far and away more traditional in their designs. Joker, Bane, and Penguin in particular have the classic looks you’d associate with each character, and Harley Quinn even pops up in her jester outfit at one point.

Really, though, they all look solid and on-model, with each character easily identifiable as themselves. Carlos depicts the heroes in several different “hero poses,” and there are also a healthy amount of action scenes and “pinup” style shots as well. You can go from coloring Batman in a cool, stoic pose as he overlooks Gotham City on one page, and then flip a few pages forward to bring an image where Batman is riding a jet ski to life.

Yes, that page rules.

None of the pages are so simple that you wouldn’t be able to find some sort of inspiration for coloring, and none are so detailed as to be intimidating. Carlos strikes a nice balance to make the book accessible for practically anyone, so you can make your coloring and shading as simple or complex as you want.

Retailing at $11.99, the book is a pretty good value for its type, especially with the high-quality, sturdy paper used for the pages. Whether you’re a huge Batman fan looking for something different, or someone who enjoys expressing themselves through art, you’re bound to get quite a bit of mileage out of Batman: The Official Coloring Book.
Disclaimer: Insight Editions provided a copy of this book for review.

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