As you might have guessed by now, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the film version of The Dark Knight Rises. Still, I have enough respect for Nolan and the franchise that I can acknowledge that others' opinions differ greatly. What I can say with certainty is that if you remotely enjoyed the film version, then you will enjoy Greg Cox’s novelization of The Dark Knight Rises. Cox is experienced with the cape and cowl crowd, having written the official novelizations of Infinite Crisis, Countdown, Final Crisis, and more. Cox has also been the author of numerous bestselling adaptations and original novels based on Terminator: Salvation, Warehouse 13, Star Trek, Underworld, and more. He does a good job of tackling the story of Bane vs. The Dark Knight, and the book actually ended up clarifying things I missed in the film and even included some scenes rumored to have been cut from the film. Here are a few particularly interesting elements from the book:
- Feelings in the fan community are mixed in regards to Tom Hardy’s Bane voice, but in Cox’s novelization, you won’t give it a second thought. Not only was I able to understand everything Bane said, but his voice sounded perfectly in my head. I’m sure it will in yours, as well.
- The Dent Act is the fairly unconstitutional legislation put in place in Gotham City following the death of Harvey Dent. Gordon and Wayne attribute the new, crime-free streets of Gotham to The Dent Act and maintain the cover-up regarding the true reason for Dent’s death. The Dent Act has “buried” numerous criminals in the Gotham prison system, and these criminals, who eventually become Bane’s army, have an intense grudge against the city and its citizens. Most of this was vague to me in the film, but the novelization really spells out the straight-up evil behind The Dent Act.
- Bane’s origin, specifically his disfigurement which required the mask, was another vague section of the film. Cox’s novelization doesn’t disappoint in this department, discussing Bane’s injury as well as his training with The League of Shadows, something we’ve seen before when Wayne went through a similar path .
Despite the interesting points mentioned above, there were few parts of the book that I could’ve done without. There’s a pretty uninspired mention of The Joker (yet, still more than the film offers), and all of the discussion regarding the potential radiation coming off Bane’s bomb and the mention that it’s more powerful than Hiroshima make Batman’s escape at the end of the film even more ridiculous. Hello, radiated Gotham! Still, despite those flaws The Dark Knight Rises is an interesting and exciting read and is sure to be a great addition to any bat cave!