Science meets superhero
Is it humanly possible to become Batman? That’s exactly what E. Paul Zehr—professor of neuroscience and kinesology as well as a trained martial artist—attempts to figure out through his book, Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero.
Knowing how much I love Batman, a thoughtful friend sent me the book as a Christmas gift, and she picked a good one! Becoming Batman impresses on many levels. The book doesn’t just eliminate its target question by giving you a yes or no answer—instead, it explores the subject through related sections, each of which provide a thorough (but easy to understand) dose of science. The book literally addresses the reality of Batman via anatomy and physiology. Zehr embarks at a dual beginning—discussing the human genome and Batman’s origins—and moves to the capabilities and limitations of the body, brain, muscles and bones, and numerous other avenues that help determine whether or not it’s physically and mentally possible for someone to reach Caped Crusader status.
Each chapter and ultimately, section (there are five), establishes part of the final answer through scientific explanations that combine a wealth of examples from real life and Batman comics. Zehr definitely knows his stuff, ensuring delight for even well-versed Batman fans like myself.
On the downside, the last part (“A Mixed Batbag”) takes up a much shorter chunk than the rest of the book, making the conclusion brief and a little lackluster—but the book itself delivers. Becoming Batman never feels dull, and it equips you with memorable and intriguing Bat-trivia and cool information about martial arts and the abilities and extent of the human body. Two black-gloved thumbs way up from me!
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Tags: becoming batman, e. paul zehr