Writers: S.D Perry & Matthew K. Manning / Artist: Ming Doyle / Colorist: Scott Holladay / DC Comics
That Rona is in full effect causing the comics industry to freeze up for the time being. But don’t worry, BNP got you. Just because there aren’t any new comics coming out doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of incredible material you might have missed over the years.
One such book is Anatomy of a Metahuman. This book is a DC comics Encyclopedia that doubles as a medical journal on some of the universe’s most powerful beings.
I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I loved those giant five-pound superhero encyclopedias that had an image and a paragraph or two about every single character within the universe in alphabetical order. I would spend hours rustling through the pages and learning about obscure heroes like Arm-Fall-Off Boy who has the ability to detach his limbs and use them as blunt weapons, or Condiment Man, who uses weapons to shoot condiments at people. I couldn’t get enough.
I might even use it as reference material for in-depth arguments with my friends. This was pre-internet, at least in the way that we know it now, so a book like this was the place I’d go to get all my information.
Anatomy of a Metahuman takes that idea and applies a tinge of creativity to it. Essentially, this book is made up of the stitched together notes that Batman has on some of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. They’re like reference notes that he can either refer to or share with others in the event that one of these individuals ever becomes a problem. It mimics handwriting and everything.
In the 150-page book, we get massive deep dives into the likes of Cyborg, Martian Manhunter Doomsday, and The Cheetah to name a few.
There are notes on the pages along with anatomical breakdowns. But the aspect that really sells the book for me is that it shows us that Batman doesn’t have all the answers for everything like we might think he does. But it does show us how he uses deductive reasoning to appear like he’s always a few steps ahead. Within his very meticulous scribbles are indisputable facts about every individual, like how Cyborg is made up of promethium skin grafts and metal-ceramic alloys. But then he asks himself questions like “Does Cyborg’s exposed skin render those spots weak?” “Is that even skin or just Synthetic facsimile?” You can easily spend an afternoon poring over the pages. It’s a really in-depth dive into how Batman’s mind works as well as how these heroes work with their varying power sets and biological differences.
If you want to learn about characters but in a way that injects a bit more into its experience than a Wikipedia summary would, this might be the type of book you need for your bookshelf.