Insight Editions The Batman: Mysteries of Gotham City review

It’s almost been a full year since Matt Reeves’ The Batman hit theaters, and even still the film lingers in the pop culture consciousness. It was a massive hit, after all, with a sequel already in the works and a Penguin spin-off series set to go into production soon. Given that Batman is a pretty popular character, it’s no surprise that toys, books, and apparel are consistently being stocked on store shelves. The folks at Insight Editions have dipped their toe into the merchandising game for The Batman, as they released an incredibly handsome script book for the film just a few months back, and now they’re back with something a little bit different: a gift book dossier, I think I’ll call it. The Batman: Mysteries of Gotham City is one part reference guide for the movie, and one part grab bag of prop replicas and goodies based on the film. Given that it’s all Batman, I got my hands on a copy to share with you, dear readers, so check out what Insight have to offer.

While it’s the relative size and shape of a book, this is more of a robust folder than anything, with a few pouches and one long foldout page containing various goodies. Inside the front “cover” there’s a pouch with three character sheets of Batman, Catwoman, and Riddler, and the opposite “cover” has a nifty green envelope with two of the Riddler’s greeting cards. They don’t have anything written in them, sadly, but they still look just like the props in the film, just a bit smaller.

The expanding, foldout cardstock page has a variety of items on the front and back, along with copy and writing related to the world of The Batman. The text for each section serves as an entry-level look at the characters of the film, along with specific locations, entities, and even abstract symbols and their meaning in the context of the movie. It’s all a grab bag consisting of some items that look like they came directly from the film, while others are decidedly pieces of merchandise that were made in the real world. As an example of each: there’s a hard plastic GCPD ID tag that looks like it could be clipped to Officer Martinez’s blues, and on the opposite “page” a keychain of the Batmobile, the latter accompanied by a stock graphic of Batman and the Batmobile against the Gotham skyline below a quick write-up about Batman’s iconic mode of transportation. Both fun items, to be sure, for different reasons.

Other items include a button emblazoned with the Wayne family emblem, iron-on patches of the Batsymbol and the Riddler’s crest, and even stickers of Batman and Catwoman. My favorite pieces are those that tie into the world of the film itself, though, like the aforementioned GCPD tag. There’s also a replica of Bruce’s journal, complete with a few pages detailing his observations about his war on crime and some diagrams of his grapple gun and Gotham City itself, and a really fun front page of the Gotham Gazette. It’s items like those that help immerse you in the world of the film, while also kicking this set above a typical collection of tie-in merch. Of the more straightforward promotional items, the coolest by far is a postcard featuring Catwoman. Selina is front and center, with the silhouette of a cat framing her. The way the tail of the cat loops around the bottom of the image with “Catwoman” written in between looks an awful lot like the poster for Chinatown, whether intentionally or not.

Why that wasn’t used as an official character poster, I do not know.

This is one of those sets that you need to see for yourself, because there’s plenty here for fans of the film to enjoy. You might not be blown away by everything that’s included, but there’s something for everybody, so it would make a great gift for a Batman fan or even for a group of fans to share. The best part about it is, even when you’ve removed all the buttons and stickers and prop replicas, it still stands in its own as a complete rundown of The Batman, as the included items supplement each topic without completely overruling them. There aren’t little boxes or sections on each page where it’s obvious a detachable item was supposed to go, for instance, so there aren’t any areas of glaring negative space. Feel free to take that Batman patch and fasten it and some buttons to your jacket all you want, because the booklet can stand on its own just fine.

The Batman: Mysteries of Gotham City retails for $27.99 and is in stores now.
Disclaimer: Insight Editions provided a copy of this set for review.

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