Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero

E. Paul Zehr, Author . Johns Hopkins Univ. $26.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-8018-9063-5

What are the odds that an ordinary billionaire like Bruce Wayne could acquire the physique and hand-to-hand fighting skills to defeat supervillains? Zehr, a Canadian neuroscientist and martial arts black belt, looks at the science of the body's “capability to respond and adapt to... extremes.” The author draws on Batman comics and movies to glean clues on how Wayne chiseled his body into a fighting machine. As a study of human physiology, this detailed and accessible discussion could appeal to Batman fans and those interested in intensive physical training who are prepared for serious science rather than fantasy. But Batman is only the scaffolding on which Zehr hangs his detailed look at the role of genetic makeup, diet, strength training and development of motor skills in attaining the “outer limits” of physical performance. Surprisingly, the discussion barely mentions the training of real-life people who need many of the same skills as Batman: special ops forces. Despite the book's strengths, readers may get the impression from the many exclamatory asides of an author still running around the house with a bedspread trailing behind him. 55 b&w illus. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/22/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
Ebook - 321 pages - 978-0-8018-9621-7
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