Author Paul Dini
Okay, so I’ve honestly been dreading writing this review. People seem to really praise this book and I… struggled with it. The plot is simple, the author, Paul Dini, writes for Batman in real life. He is mugged in real life and pretty badly beaten. He also talks to Batman and other fictional characters, in his real life mind. He falls into despair about how he needed a hero and didn’t get one. Then he comes around, the end.
So with the plot basics out of the way let’s break it down by what I did like and then what I didn’t.
What I Liked
I like the idea and concept of this book. That a writer who actually writes Batman found a whole new connection to the character by needing him for real. I think that is relatable.
I like the honesty of the book. The author really puts himself out there and really doesn’t come off looking great (more on that soon). I appreciate how hard it must have been for Dini to tell this story where he is very much the victim. He had to relive this awful period in his life over and over again in order to get it out there and he did it because he felt it is a story that might help some people.
That’s probably true, some people probably found this book at the right time in their lives and found in useful in one way or another. I can give credit for that.
What I Didn’t Like
Basically, Paul Dini.
If this were fiction I think people would have a very different view on this book. It’s harder to demonize a real person who had a real and terrible experience than a fictional character with all of the same attributes. But allow me to play devil’s advocate for a minute.
Dini is a sad sack whiny little troll. Most of the book is spent talking about how he got friend zoned by some Hollywood starlet who was just using him for his connections, which he himself inflated in order to impress her. It was because he was trying to manipulate her into liking him (i.e. wanting to sleep with him) that he ended up on the road alone at night that got him mugged.
He does a really good job at blaming himself and feeling sorry for himself and pitying himself and saying how he was such a little twat he must have deserved the beating he got. All while backhandedly pointing to the women in his life who have done him wrong and it’s all kind of their fault too.
After he gets his face smashed in he goes home to drink himself to sleep instead of going to the hospital. Eventually he makes it to surgery and we see a flashback of how he got stood up by some other woman whom he invited to be his date to the Emmy awards. That night, in real life, he cut himself with his own Emmy.
I’m sorry. I do understand that this is a real person who experienced real pain but shiiiiit. How do I not have a twinge of resentment toward someone who cuts themselves with their freaking Emmy award because they thought it was their ticket to getting laid and it turned out not to be?
So basically, Dini is your standard Nice Guy TM who solves his problems with self harm and talking to Batman. If this was fiction everyone would be rolling their eyes and making fun of him but since it’s reality I’m supposed to get all compassionate and give him the attention he’s been crying for this whole time.
What I Liked
By the end it does seem that Dini grows up just a little bit and realizes that he’s only been chasing these women because he wanted a pretty object and they’re actually smarter than he gave them credit for and saw through his bullshit. He stops whining long enough to show that we all have the Batman voice inside of us if we can just listen to it instead of the incel voice we’ll be better off.
Can someone draw me a cartoon with Batman with a halo on one shoulder and a troll-y 4chan incel piece of shit with devil horns on the other shoulder please?
What I Didn’t Like
Even though Dini learned a valuable lesson it’s not a lesson I think needed to be put out there in this way. Even though Dini comes off badly I think this story is still more of the attention grab that he admits to doing all the time. It’s selfish and narcissistic couched in “if I can just help one person it’ll all be worth it.”
Overall, I can’t say I cared for this book. Other people seem to have a very different opinion. I do appreciate the work that Dini has done for DC and will continue to read his works when I’m interested but I’d be cool with not seeing any more of his personal life.
2/5 ambulances that should have been called for the violent beating 🚑🚑
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Buy it here and argue with me about it: Dark Night: A True Batman Story