"Batman: Flashlight Projections" review: Insight Editions lets you shine the Bat-Signal from the safety of your own home
Imagine you’re a citizen of Gotham City. You’re out at night and you hear a variety of sounds: the wail of sirens in the distance; gun shots coming from an alley that’s a little too close for comfort; the mad cackle of a certain Clown Prince of Crime. You’re nervous, even if you’re maybe a little too used to this madness, and you’re not sure what to do.
Then you look up in the sky and see a familiar sight: the Bat-Signal.
Batman is here. He’ll save the day.
With Insight Editions’ new book Batman: Flashlight Projections, you cam shine the light any time you want, without the inherent danger of having to live in Gotham and the likely death by murder clowns that comes with it.
This is a lean, fun little book with a pretty cool concept: each page has a clear plastic sheet built into it, with different Batman-related images printed on them. You shine a flashlight through the page and onto a wall and, presto, you have yourself a pretty cool projection.
The text is written by Jake Black, and while there isn’t much of a story, he hits on the core ideas of Batman’s world: defender of the night, crimefighting partners, dastardly rogues gallery, sweet car, and so forth. Black is clearly a fan, unabashedly so, and he flat out says that the Batmobile is “the coolest car in the world.” That’s real.
It’s the images that you can project that are the main selling point, though, and they generally deliver. Artist Scott Buonocristiano does a pretty respectable job of making the images detailed enough to be eye-catching while still working as well projections. The page with Batman and his allies is probably the weakest of the lot, with everyone lined up in a row in a static shot. It’s not incredibly interesting, and it’s lacking in detail. Contrast that with the next page, which has several of Batman’s villains standing in front of the gates to Arkham Asylum, which is inventive, detailed, and engaging. The heroes page isn’t bad, per se, just the definite weak link in the chain.
Thankfully, pretty much every other image looks great, both on the page and on the wall. Buonocristiano draws some really dynamic scenes throughout, like the Batmobile driving through the streets of Gotham, Batman springing into action, and Bats standing in silent vigil as the Bat-Signal shines in the sky. They’re some pretty cool images by themselves, and kids are going to love this interactive feature, I guarantee it.
The final page of the book has a blank plastic sheet, too, so you can draw whatever scene you would like to project on the wall. Just take a dry erase marker and go to town. Want to see Batman break Bane’s back for once? Go for it. Have you longed to pit Nightwing and Batgirl against Tweedledee and Tweedledum? Now’s your chance. Want to have AzBats fight the Ten-Eyed Man? Friend, I encourage it. The great thing is, you can draw each of those, erase, and draw something else. The possibilities are endless.
Retailing at $16.99, it is a tad pricey considering the short length, but that’s more than made up for with the interactivity and re-readability of the book. With the projection element and the final “do it yourself” page, kids will surely want to visit this again and again. Besides that, the binding and paper stock are each high quality, so it will withstand multiple read-throughs without question.
Batman: Flashlight Projections will be available in bookstores on September 25, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon now.