DK has some new LEGO books out this year and I recently picked up their latest DC Comics Super Heroes Character Encyclopedia. What a mouthful! DK really need to consider shortening their book titles!
For those unfamiliar with DK’s range of LEGO character encyclopedias, they’re hard-cover books featuring detailed profiles of character minifigures from a specific theme. The character encyclopedias are generally quite light-hearted and fun, with plenty of humour and trivia that’s aimed at younger audiences.
Here’s a look at the front cover of the book. This is DK’s and LEGO’s very first DC Comics-focused character encylopedia. In the past two years, LEGO have been slowly realised that they could produce non-Batman led sets which has been great for a DC fan like me since we finally get awesome characters such as Green Lantern and The Flash – very nice since you could finally wrangle up the Justice League crew in LEGO form.
The front cover is pretty cool, it has the Justice League + Starfire on the top border and iconic DC villains at the bottom.
With all DK Character Encyclopedias, the exclusive minifigure is prominently displayed in a clear window. We get a Pirate Batman minifigure in this edition, which I’ll go through in more detail further down the review.
The back of the book has more DC super heroes and villains, most of which are from recent sets.
Before we get into the book’s contents, let’s look at the exclusive Pirate Batman minifigure. DK has a long running history of including highly coveted exclusive variants of popular minifigures in its character encyclopedias and other books, which works extremely well to incentivise adult LEGO fans like me to pick them up at the bookstore.
So, I was not aware of Batman’s piratey adventures before this. Some rough Googling revealed that Pirate Batman was the protagonist in a pretty obscure comic called Batman:Leatherwing in the early 90s.
This alternate version of Batman, also known as Captain Leatherwing sees Batman buccaneering on the high seas and getting up to all sorts of pirate adventures. I only know this from the Wiki article.
As a minifigure, I quite like Pirate Batman, even though it seems like such an obscure and odd choice for a Batman variant. I quite like Pirate Batman’s blue chinless cowl with the shorter ears – this is exclusive (for now) to this minifigure.
He has a cloth cape which is made out of the newer heavy fabric material which I love and also comes equipped with a LEGO cutlass and spiked mace.
I was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted by this new-ish Batman face. Bruce Wayne has a confident smirk on his face but unfortunately still suffers from Batman exercise headband syndrome. This new Batman head is the same as the one from the Classic TV Series Batcave which is really sweet since I don’t own that set.
Pirate Batman’s torso and legs are excellent – we get a grey pirate-style suit with dark blue fabric across his belt and boots. Batman’s iconic utility belt is worn across his chest like a bandolier. The designers definitely got all the Piratery elements right with this one. The printing is of impeccably quality and all the lines are nice and crisp without any colour bleeding or smudging.
Here’s a look at the back printing, where you can see the utility belt continuing across his back. The utility belt partially obscures the Bat logo, which marks the first time any Batman minifigure features the Batman logo printed on his back.
Pirate Batman also has an alternate face, where he bares his teeth in anger or as a way to intimidate his enemies.
I noticed a slight difference in Pirate Batman’s skin colour. It looks slightly lighter compared to recent iterations of Batman, which looks like he spent too long in the solarium.
Despite being obscure as heck, Pirate Batman has grown on me and would be a great addition to any DC fan’s collection. The novelty of Pirate Batman gives this minifig a lot of charm and a very unique identity. You definitely can’t imagine Pirate Batman being in a regular LEGO set.
On to the contents of the book. If you’ve owned or read through past DK LEGO Character Encyclopedias, nothing really groundbreaking is in the book. Each page is more or less dedicated to a a DC LEGO minifigure, with plenty of trivia about the character & design, alongside relevant information like which sets they make an appearance in.
The DC Comics Super Heroes Character Encyclopedia has a nice flow to it – you start in 2006 with the very first Batman minifigure, which then proceeds chronologically till the most recent Mighty Micros minifigures.
Like most character encyclopedias, flipping through it and in this case, tracing through the evolution of DC Comics minifigs was an enjoyable affair – something that both young kids and adult fans can equally appreciate.
Do note that the language used is quite kiddy, so don’t expect a detailed exposition on minifigure design philosophies in this book.
At certain parts (like the two-page spread above), it did feel a bit like a fancy hardcover catalogue for LEGO DC sets. Larger sets like Jokerland and the recent Classic TV Series Batcave get gorgeous double page features with crisp photography that will no doubt cause younger kids to pester their mums and dads to buy them the latest and greatest DC Comics sets.
I love reading interviews with LEGO designers, so I naturally enjoyed reading a lengthy piece featuring John Cuppage (Model Designer) and Adam Corbally (Senior Graphic Designer) sharing their insights and experiences working on the DC Comics Super Heroes theme.
It’s always fun being given a peek into the minds of LEGO designers and their involvement with some of your favourite LEGO sets.
The book closes off with a set gallery, an ultra-comprehensive checklist of every single Batman and DC Comics Super Heroes set or minifigure ever made. I was quite surprised to see uber-exclusive minifigures such as those that were given away at Comic Con being featured.
I guess, for the sake of completionists, you have to include them, but for regular fans like me, it felt a bit like a tease, being shown minifigures that I will most likely never own unless I win the Lotto.
I’m a huge DC Comics fan, so I naturally enjoyed this book and had no qualms dropping $20 on it. I do admit that the Pirate Batman was the number one draw for me, and I’m sure this will be the case for plenty of older LEGO fans.
As an exclusive minifigure, the Pirate Batman is one of the most interesting characters included in a DK LEGO book. The design is fantastic and you can immediately recognize Batman, even though he’s decked out in pirate gear and attire.
The high overall quality of the minifig and small surprises like the Classic TV Series Batman head, and the exclusive blue cowl makes the deal all the more sweeter.
For younger kids, this book really shines as you get plenty of mileage with the character trivia, gorgeous photos and the free minifig is also a very nice inclusion. Super hero-crazy kids are going to love this book, and I also think it’d make a great tool to get kids to read and improve their vocabulary. There aren’t any interactive games, but parents can quiz their kids on LEGO DC Comics trivia from the book.
As a kid, I would’ve loved this book and probably put a lot of effort into memorising all the cool super heroes facts.
For adults, you’re in for a good time as well with Pirate Batman, so try and grab this book at a good price.
I picked up my copy of the DK DC Comics Super Heroes Character Encylopedia from Big W where I got it for $20 which is a really great price since the RRP is $29.99. They should be available in nearly all bookstores or book sections – just look for the kids section where all the other hardcover DK books are and you should be able to find it.
Thanks for reading this review! Let me know what you think of Pirate Batman in the comments section!