If it’s not obvious by the title and description, Batman: Super-Villains Strike is a children’s book, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not completely and utterly awesome. I mean, any book that starts off with the phrase, “You are Batman,” is a book that has already won my heart.
Batman: Super-Villains Strike is a choose-your-own adventure book, which if you don’t know what that is, it’s a story that varies based on the decisions you make at the end of each chapter, which can result in success, stalemate, or death traps. The story in this book specifically kicks off when Batman (you – still awesome) find traces of Catwoman stealing some very expensive items. When you start to track her down, however, you realize that there is no way it could actually be Catwoman because you locked her up in Arkham Asylum previously. This theme starts moving along (as long you make the right choices) to reveal the same scenarios with Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and The Riddler, as well.
The characters are all presented in the style of Bruce Timm’s Batman: The Animated Series as far as the look of the illustrations and motivations for the characters. While it doesn’t necessarily apply to the content of the story through, knowing that background made me feel like I knew the characters a little bit better, which greatly increased my enjoyment.
Surprisingly for a children’s book, Michael Teitelbaum crafts a story that begins to reveal layers of a truly interesting story of crime and shady business practices in the vein of a classic mystery tale. Clues are given as to what path you should choose based off of riddles, mazes, puzzles, and sheer cunning, which are all strong aspects to the book that make it more enjoyable and don’t take away from the story, at all. And if this all seems surprising for you to read this about a children’s book, it’s just as surprising to write it. This book is good.
Now, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, however. Through my extensive reading of this book, I picked up on two, and only two, unforgivable flaws. One of the problems with a Batman choose-your-own-adventure book is that, you’re going to choose incorrectly, which is something that Batman rarely does. In fact, even if Batman were to make bad decisions, which he does, he is always prepared for any and all eventualities, therefore, say, if Batman were caught in a webbed net by Catwoman, he’d be prepared for that by pulling out a small knife or Batarang and cutting the net, thusly freeing himself from his imprisonment. And that sort of thing can be applied to any and all ways the book presents the incorrect or alternate ending. So, to have the story end after that sort of scenario is just unbelievable and deeply flawed. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad, that’s just me nitpicking, which is why I’m doing this in the first place. My other issue with the book is that, honestly, Catwoman should never be locked up in Arkham Asylum. She is not criminally insane, she’s simply a cat burglar that sometimes behaves like a hero. So, if she’s locked up anywhere it should be Blackgate, not Arkham. I mean, come on. How am I supposed to believe that?
But again, this is great book for both children and adults like myself who are huge Batman fans and don’t mind goofing around a little bit and having some fun. And honestly, for only $5.99, this is a book that really anyone should give a chance.