|John Hopkins University Press|
the guardian Fri 17 April 2009
Batman doesn't actually have any superpowers, so in theory anyone could become like him. Or could they? Zehr is ideally qualified to pose the question, being a kinesiologist and neuroscientist, a student of karate and a massive Batman geek. He considers in turn genetics, diet, hormones, learning, and - most interestingly - the biomechanics of athletic action, applied particularly to various methods of fighting. The exciting upshot is that, given unlimited funds and 20 years, you could become Batman - but you'd have to retire by the age of 55 or so. Zehr's relentless excitability (and terrifying mastery of the entire Batman mythohistoriography) may become a little wearing, and his grasp of Chinese martial arts is somewhat loose, but the physiological material is fascinating and well explained. I expect even the excessive spray of exclamation marks is a deliberate nod to comics tradition.