DK Batman Visual Dictionary out now

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Batman Visual DictionaryIf you pre-ordered the Dorling Kindersley Batman Visual Dictionary from Amazon, I suspect, like me, you received it today.

This isn't going to be a full review: just my first impressions (I've only had it 1/2 hour!), but enough hopefully for you to decide whether it's worth purchasing.

It's a 96-page book which is the same size as the Star Wars Visual Dictionary and Harry Potter Building the Magical World. Its thick front cover holds the exclusive minifig which we'll get to in a minute.

The book starts with an introduction and timeline of Batman sets, showing pictures of the boxes and models.

It appears to be complete and accurate and even includes the polybag sets that were released earlier this year.

The rest of the book is divided into four sections:

  • The World of LEGO Batman covers the original sets and minifigs released between 2006 and 2008. You can see two spreads from this section in my flickr stream.
  • LEGO DC Super Heroes covers the 2012 sets and includes Superman and Wonder Woman.
  • Beyond the Brick takes a look at the design process and features interviews with the designers.
  • Finally, Going Digital covers scenes and characters from the two video games. This accounts for 20 pages of the book and is of no interest to me whatsoever, and its inclusion is somewhat disappointing. I suspect it's only there because there isn't enough material to fill the book otherwise.

Right at the back of the book is a page showing all the minifigs, much like that at the back of the Harry Potter version. It does not include the SDCC exclusive Batman and Green Lantern, or the one that is included with the book.

Batman Visual DictionaryThe exclusive minifig is 'Electro-suit Batman' which is apparently the suit he wears to help him solve puzzles in the LEGO Batman 2 game. It's printed back and front, and even on his arms and cowl. It's very well printed, but as has been the case with other recent DK book minifigs, it's not made in Europe or Mexico.

In summary then, the book is OK. It's not as good as the other Visual Dictionaries, perhaps because the material is a bit sparse. In fact something I haven't mentioned yet is that there are a number of childish and superfluous cartoon strips littered throughout it, obviously more padding to fill the pages.

The photos don't look as good to me, either. They don't seem to 'pop' off the page, perhaps partly because many of them are of black things. In fact, looking through it now, it's a strange mix of real photos and the computer generated images that LEGO often use on the boxes and catalogues these days.

Definitely one for the Super Heroes completest, but unlike most DK LEGO books, not an essential purchase.

It can be ordered from Amazon (UK (£9.68) | USA ($14.95) | Germany (€16.95) | France (€17.79). It looks as if the USA has a couple of weeks to wait until it's published there.

26 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Saw it on Wednesday at WHSmith in Westfields Shepherd's Bush already.

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By in United Kingdom,

You have to pay full price for it there though I suspect...

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By in Canada,

I don't get this, why couldn't they wait and make this after a couple more waves? Such a cash grab.. >:(

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By in Netherlands,

Ordered 10 copies right away.

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By in United Kingdom,

I ordered a copy through Amazon on Monday, but sadly it didn't arrive today, having said that, I wasn't expecting it to.

I always thought the limited source material might be a problem with this one, and so it appears to have been based on your initial findings Huw.

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By in United Kingdom,

I thought it strange why they didn't just do a Super Heroes Visual Dictionary including Marvel and also show the early Batman and Spiderman sets. Does this mean they will release a Marvel one in the future?

The minifigure is great and a bargain with todays exclusive prices.

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By in Israel,

Anyone want just the book and would be willing to sell me the figure? I reckon that most of you are wanting the figure but I suppose asking doesn't hurt ;)

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By in United States,

^^ Perhaps licensing would be an issue. Plus there are fans of Marvel, but not DC, and vice versa. Also they know they can always produce 2 books....

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By in United Kingdom,

CGI images?? CGI IMAGES?? Which ones, surely not in place of the actual minifigs? It can hardly be classed as a LEGO visual dictionary if the images are photoshop placeholders and not actual photographed product. That stinks. That seriously stinks.

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By in United States,

I guess we can look forward to all the minifigureless book in Barnes and Noble. Thieves pop the figs out leaving a useless box of crackerjacks. Did so with the star wars New Hope Luke.

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By in United Kingdom,

Still worth buying I reckon, but I am a bit disappointed to find that the quality of this book is lower than the rest.

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By in United States,

Saw a couple copies in TRU last week, all MFs stolen of course, as with most DK books there. I <3 NY

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By in United States,

Some of the preview pictures I've seen showcased some of the computer-generated characters you mention, and I wasn't too impressed either. I really wanted to like this book, but it looks like I'll definitely need to see it in person before I make up my mind.

And seeing how it will be out of date by the end of the year - well it seems a bit premature release-wise, doesn't it?

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By in United States,

I have to ask, as this somewhat bothered me with the LEGO Harry Potter book: is the logo on the spine facing up, or is it on its side? The LEGO Harry Potter book has it facing sideways so it looks a tad out of place compared to the rest of my LEGO books.

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By in United Kingdom,

The problem that they can't make it into 1 book with DC and Marvel is the Figure's problem, if you make a DC one, it will have to be a Batman or Joker figure and whereas a Marvel one, an Iron Man figure. So if you mix both DC and Marvel into 1 book, what figure are you going to put in?

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By in Canada,

i just found 8 copys at my local coles plan on purchaseing in 2 weeks

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By in Canada,

in reply to kingiggs comment i would love to see the thing,alfred,cyclops or the flash in a combo book

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By in United Kingdom,

@binaryeye: I know quite a few fantasy artists, you'd be amazed what a professional can do with photoshop and a digital pen. Seriously, it's not just for touching up magazine photos - they create real art and you wouldn't spot it from paints or photography.
But that is all beside the point, which was the issue of computer generated images (regardless of program used) instead of product photos. The fact is, a book that purports to be a visual dictionary of a product line should by exactly that: a gallery of products released and collected, not a splash page for cgi-promo material. It's wrong, just plain wrong.

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By in United Kingdom,

@TooMuchLEGO, like all Brickmaster books it's facing up on the spine. I see what you mean about the HP book, it does look out of place although I hadn't noticed until you mentioned it :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

I have purchased it now and I would tend to agree with you Huw, it is not bad, but not quite up to the standard I had hoped. I very much like the figure however despite the relatively poor quality of plastic.

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By in Hong Kong,

Is it it me, or does the cowl pull down a little bit too low, so you can see the line & some flesh beneath the white area on the head?

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By in United States,

@Huw: Thanks for the clarification!
@Sparky Ham: Not just you: I see what you're talking about. Not the best job. :-/

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By in United States,

@huw, will you be adding this new batman in the minifig galleries?

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By in United States,

I read on EB that there are some images of prototypes of sets in the back of the book. Do you think I could see those, Huw?

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By in United States,

I love this figure so much I might get it so I can expand my lego/batman knowledge and have that figure!

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