Attack of the Man-Bat!Capstone Publishing has a new book series for reluctant readers and comic book fans. Children can now read chapter books about their favorite superheroes that include twelve comic pages. One such series revolves around Batman and his crime fighting adventures in Gotham City and beyond.

In “The Attack of the Man-Bat,” written by Jake Black and illustrated by Luciano Vecchio, Bruce Wayne attends a benefit to help save the rainforest but soon learns that the local villagers are being taken and terrorized by a bat monster. Suspicious of this news, Bruce dons his Batman persona and searches the rainforest, discovering not only the notorious Man-Bat but Poison Ivy, as well. The second book “Scarecrow’s Panic Plot,” once again illustrated by Vecchio but written by Scott Beatty, has Batman stumbling upon a trap set up by Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka Scarecrow. It is up to his two sidekicks Robin and Nightwing to help him escape from the crazed doctor.

Some may believe that the combination of comic pages and written pages would confuse the reader and deter them from the story’s plot. However, as you are taken into the world of Batman, the comic pages add to the superhero action in the story. Illustrator Lucian Vecchio chooses moments in the story that would be enhanced by colorful pages, action, and dialogue, which include a fight between Batman and a jaguar, fearful hallucinogenic visions, and introductions of notable characters. The artwork resembles the Batman animated series from the 90s (Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures), with its balance of noir shadows and colorful characters. As for the stories, the authors have written tales that are not bombarded by so much superhero action. The authors do add common comic book words and lettering, such as “THUMP!” and “SWOOOSH!,”to add to the comic book motif. The story stays on track and does not deter into unknown territory, keeping the reader’s attention.

According to the publisher, the reading levels for these books are between third and seventh grade. While most seventh grade readers may want to read actual Batman comics, younger readers in elementary school will be drawn to them, especially those who prefer to read something they are familiar with. To further assist the readers, the last pages of each book include a short biography of the villain, glossary of comic terms and Batman’s gadgets, and review questions about the story and the structure of the comic pages. These information pages can be very helpful for teachers or parents who want to help a child with reading comprehension and how to read a comic book.
Batman’s new adventures from Capstone Publishing are a great addition to any library’s children’s collection. Comic book fans will enjoy the superhero’s adventures and comic book readers will be interested in the combination of comic pages and a written story. There is more to come in the series, along with another comic chapter series featuring Superman, his allies, and his villains.

Batman: The Attack of the Man-Bat
by Jake Black
Art by Luciano Vecchio
ISBN: 9781496505132
Capstone, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 8-13

Batman: Scarecrow’s Panic Plot
by Scott Beatty
Art by Luciano Vecchio
ISBN: 9781496505125
Capstone, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: 8-13

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!