[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Written by: S.D. Perry & Matthew K. Manning
Illustrations by: Ming Doyle
The latest DC-inspired book to come out of the wonderful publishing house Insight Editions is DC Comics: Anatomy of a Metahuman. This stunning and unique 160-page book created in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, dissects the incredible abilities of DC characters like never before. Using beautifully illustrated anatomical cross sections depicting twelve different characters, the book, told from Batman’s unique perspective, explores how these metahumans’ physical makeup differs significantly from that of the average person.
There is so much to love about this book. It is unlike anything I’ve seen come out of DC, and that’s one of the main things that drew me to it. S.D. Perry and Matthew K. Manning do a brilliant job of tapping into the mind of Bruce Wayne, as this book is completely from his point of view. It reads beautifully like a man of science diving into the mysteries of the unknown. Almost everything is treated as theory and conjecture, as opposed to fact, which truly adds to the realism of this book. It goes deep into details, in a way I’ve never thought about before, breaking down everything in both macro and micro ways.
The first thing you read is Batman’s consideration of the use of body modifications, even referencing his infamous spinal injury at the hands of Bane. It’s things like this that really pull the reader into his world. As I was reading, the content of the book felt so real, and that is in large part due to the fantastic writing. But the writing doesn’t pack nearly as big of a punch if not for the amazing artwork by Ming Doyle. The entire book is “handwritten” and “hand drawn” by Bruce Wayne, and it’s this technique that really added to the beautiful realism.
The first of Bruce’s “subjects” is, of course, Superman. This felt like a perfect starting point as he has so much going on, from a multitude of powers, to alien physiology. It sets the standard for what is to follow in the coming pages. We get a great sampling of characters from the DC universe, including Aquaman, Darkseid, Cheetah, Doomsday, Cyborg, and more. It even includes memos from such organizations as A.R.G.U.S., S.T.A.R. Labs, the DEO, and LexCorp.
And amidst everything, it even details various suits of armor that Batman has developed for some of these threats, such as the “Justice Buster”, the “Hellbat Armor” and the “Thrasher Suit”. These are fantastic additions that provide a nice, short break between some of these long entries.
The one and only negative I had was that I wanted more characters detailed in this book. One in particular was Wonder Woman. I was a bit surprised that she wasn’t in this, but at the end of the book we are given the impression that this may just be the first volume of many as a list of “Priority Subjects For Further Study” is written out, with Wonder Woman at the top of that list. So, if this is just the first of multiple volumes, I can’t wait to see Volume 2.
Overall, this is an amazing book, and is a must-get for any DC lover. It’s beautiful artwork and stellar writing make it absolutely worth the price. If you pick this book up, you won’t regret it.