Review: Becoming Batman by Dr. E. Paul Zehr

Robert January 31, 2009 2

I love books that take topics that interest me and examine the science in them. This book is not, as I assumed, a prescriptive on how to become Batman but more a treatise on the feasibility of becoming Batman. Could a man really train and then operate in the way Batman is depicted in the comics and movies?

Dr. Zehr comes to the topic with suitable expertise. Not only is he a professor of neuroscience and kinesiology, but he has multiple blackbelts and more than 25 years of experience in the martial arts. If you are interested in the details of science, you will like this book. If a chapter on how metabolism works isn’t your thing, you should probably give this book a miss.

The initial chapters look at the building blocks, for example, what kind of genes would Bruce Wayne have needed to inherit to feasibly become Batman? From there it moves into the training. Would Batman be more interested in strength or power? and what kind of training would be suitable for each? What kind of martial arts should he study? How much training is necessary to become an expert?

The last part of the book looks at the realities of operating as Batman, specifically the impact or repeated stress and injury to the body. How long could Batman operate?

I expected the book to spend more time on the types of things Batman does (i.e. swinging from buildings) – but that is a topic that is well covered in James Kakalios’ Physics of Superheroes.

Although I felt that the narrative needed more energy, I did enjoy this book. Dr. Zehr did his research. He knows the science and he knows the character. If you’ve ever been curious about the possibilities of being a superhero, give this book a try.

Interestingly, there was material in the book that is directly applicable to my job. I can’t wait to use this title as a reference, when the subject comes up!

Check out the companion website, here.


  1. Dysfunctional Parrot January 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    The only real bad thing about this book is that it has crushed my hopes and dreams. Other than that, loved it!!

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