Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini

details
Title: Dark Night: A True Batman Story
Stand-Alone: Yes
Writer(s): Paul Dini
Illustrator(s): Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: June 21st 2016
Pages: 129
Genre(s): Comics, Non-Fiction
ISBN13: 9781401241438
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

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If there’s anything I’ll forever cherish about my childhood it would be Batman: The Animated Series. Waking up early in the morning to catch the latest episode of Batman’s adventures was my form of religion. Flawless, beautiful and riddled with life lessons, this animated series was the beginning of my love for the Dark Knight. You’d think that my love for that show couldn’t possibly get any bigger, but as the years passed by and a newfound love for comic books surged out of the depths of my heart, I’ve come to appreciate the series on an ever deeper level. From loving the voice actors (Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman; how could anyone surpass their talents?) to having the greatest respect to the creative crew behind the show, it’s safe to say that there’s nothing that could tarnish my love for this show.

But what does that animated series have anything to do with this graphic novel? I’ll tell you what. They both point straight at Paul Dini. This iconic Warner Bros. Animation producer and writer of shows like Batman: The Animated Series and Tiny Toon Adventures is the man who changed the game in ways only he could. Living the life during a golden era of television screenwriting, there was simply nothing that could stop his mind for pouring out brilliant stories. Known as well as the co-creator of Harley Quinn and the writer behind one of the best Arkham video games ever, Paul Dini was a talent beyond the world’s understanding. With Dark Night: A True Batman Story, he however brings us a personal and powerful autobiography that quickly reminds us about heroism, resilience and redemption.

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In this story, Paul Dini offers us a glimpse at his life and career through the lens of a survivor of dark days. Recounting his inspirations and his coping mechanisms to his introverted lifestyle, he takes the time to recount the details of his most significant moments that all led to the unexpected and tragic night where he was savagely beaten and left to rot without any help within sight. Throughout his whole recovery process he is however visited by Batman’s rogues gallery. Their imagined presence isn’t however welcomed with open arms as they amplify the struggles of Paul Dini through a brilliant display of their own observations of what went wrong in his life. It’s how each of these villains subtlety refer to what they are known for (i.e. Scarecrow and his fascination of fear) that highlights the brilliance behind the writing. Paul Dini isn’t however without allies as Batman occasionally appears out of the shadows of his imagination to try and remind him to keep his chin up.

Accompanied by the artwork of Eduardo Risso, which greatly adapts to the storyline’s atmosphere, Paul Dini makes it his mission to deliver the truth with all of its raw strength. This is after all an innocent man who flirted with death when he had done absolutely nothing wrong in his life. For him to survive the tragedy was already a huge enough miracle to his eyes, but what really makes this special is how he came to terms with his past. Even in light of how justice wasn’t on his side, he found in Batman something much bigger than a dealer of fear and a protector of the innocent. What he finds is the power of an idea and its ability to save lives through inspiration and motivation. It’s this road to recovery that deals the greatest punch to the reader and turns this autobiographical graphic novel into such an exquisite story.

Going through all kinds of highs and lows, Paul Dini delivers one of the most chilling and beautiful true story to all fans out there. Showing great courage in even sharing this dark night with us, he easily shows us true resilience and how he found it in him, and in Batman, the answer to getting back up and to keep on moving forward. Dark Night: A True Batman Story is easily a powerful, beautiful and masterful tale of a survivor.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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26 comments

  • I never heard of this before, that is truly tragic. It’s amazing how some people can manage to find the strength to go on after something so horrible. I don’t know if I would ever be able to do something like that, but I guess one can only tell if one is right in the middle of it. And I quite honestly never hope I will ever have to face it. This is one heck of a powerful book it sounds like. Going to add this one to my to read list for sure 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was stunned when I heard about this news too. Making it public and turning it into a graphic novel like this one takes a lot of courage too. I’m sort of glad that he shared the story with us too. Sometimes it’s nice to see how people get up from tough fights. You never know when it’ll be your turn to best yourself and survive dark nights. Glad to have brought this up on your radar, sir. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Wow. Got goosebumps reading this. What a horrible experience and yet to be able to survive and draw from it. Incredible.
    Batman cartoons were a pretty big part of my childhood too 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Crazy, right? He really accomplished something amazing here. To not only survive the incident, but to not fall deeper into the darkness and rather climb out of it like this? Amazing. It just makes me love everything about these writers, artists and Batman even more! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awn, thanks Danielle. It’s a wonderful and creative world filled with legends that have done things that only those willing to sit down and listen (or read) will ever see. I totally agree with you there. So many wonderful people have shown us amazing things even though they went through the most horrible events possible in life. May their story be forever shared, and inspire the whole Universe during their darkest nights!

      Liked by 1 person

  • This is a brilliant review Lashaan, and I think it’s incredible how Paul Dini used his own personal experiences and personal demons while writing this. It certainly sounds like it made the story stronger.
    Again great review. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Beth! Yes, it’s a very courageous thing to revisit this moment in his life and turn it into a graphic novel. He’s an amazing writer and a strong person indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Brilliant and insightful analysis my friend! I read this when it first came out and you’re right, it’s an exquisite albeit harrowing but ultimately hopeful exploration of Dini’s brutal experience. I’ve always been a fan of his work and it’s quite sad to learn of what he went through but the fact that he find his way through it all is enlightening and reassuring.

    Great to hear your love of Batman was born with the incomparable 1990s animated series (in my opinion the greatest comic book tv series to ever be produced, whether it be animated or live action) my Bat-fandom began with the 1989 Tim Burton film (I still have the action figures and various other bits merchandise – Batman and Joker yo-yo’s included!) and was only heightened by TAS before delving into the comics.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad to hear you’ve already it, sir! No more of that “I have it but haven’t read it”! 😂 I definitely have mad respect for Paul Dini. He has given fans amazing content and has achieved so many great things outside of comic books!

      I remember Burton’s movie as a child, but I never saw it fully as a pre-teen or even had the conscience to appreciate it. It was only during high school that I revisited all the Batman movies (even the insanely bad ones). Hahahah that yo yo sounds hilariously awesome! I remember having a yo yo as a kid but I couldn’t tell if it was Batman-related. However, I can assure you I was bad at playing with it! 😂 I wish we could get more animated superhero SHOWS. I’m glad Young Justice got renewed for a third season though. Did you watch it? And don’t mention Teen Titans Go… the longer that one exists, the more it is killing the classic Teen Titans animated series! 😩😩

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I was pretty awful with yo-yo’s as well but my sister was great at it…bummer! I never saw Young Justice but I’ve heard of it and know it’s held in high regard. The last DC series I saw really was Justice League…I have zero interest in the Teen Titans Go stuff but hey, if kids enjoy it then that’s great.

        Have you heard Batman TAS is coming to blu-ray? I already have my box set pre-ordered!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Have you tried that super short Constantine animated series they gave us to compensate for cancelling his CW show though? 😂 and wow! Justice League?! It’s been that long since you checked any animated series/movies? Or are we only talking about TV series? Hahah! And yes, I heard about the box set! I’ve been dying for a bluray version of it myself hahah

          Liked by 1 person

          • No, I do generally keep up with the Warners/DC animated films (I’ve just posted a review for ‘The Death of Superman’) but so far a series go I only recently watched the two seasons of Justice League (I couldn’t get into ‘Unlimited’ to be honest but may go back to it). I’m curious about the Constantine shorts, I see that’s coming out on disc/digital in October/November.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’ll be dropping by your recent reviews soon, buddy. I’m really psyched about the Hush animated movie they’re planning to do too. I do hope you’ve read that beautiful (literally, with Jim Lee’s art) story! 😂

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  • Awesome review Lashaan! Didn’t know thIs life altering story about Paul Dini. Says a lot about him if he came was able to persevere. If we can meet and face our own fears and challenges… we can do anything! No wonder Batman is so loved. ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

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