Anatomy Of A Metahuman. A review and interview with Matthew K. Manning.


When I first heard about this book many months ago, I was immediately intrigued! I read a brief description and saw some early images and my eyes and mind immediately wanted more! I have always been interested in scientific drawings, so when my love of Superheroes was combined with detailed drawings I knew I had to get a closer look!  Just read this synopsis and tell me you don’t want to put on a white coat and become a scientist!

“This stunning and unique book delves into the incredible abilities of DC Comics characters like never before. Using beautifully illustrated anatomical cross sections depicting twelve different DC characters, the book, told from Batman’s unique perspective, will explore how these “metahumans” physical makeup differs significantly from that of the average person. From detailed theories on how Superman’s eyes shoot heat rays to an in-depth exploration of how Aquaman is able to breathe under water, the book delves into the deepest secrets of these classic characters.”

When my copy arrived I was lost in time as soon as I opened it. Everything stopped as my eyes were looking at a cutaway of Superman’s eyes! The next thing I knew it was an hour later and I felt smarter!


Gorgeous designs with fantastic details.

The book is big! For some reason I love huge books, and I am happy that this one is now in my collection. I won’t be sharing too much of the book here as you should all know how I feel about spoilers by now and if you want to read this book after I have told you about it, I want you to feel how I felt once I first picked it up. Amazed and astounded.

Ming Doyle created some truly magnificent artwork for this book and the colours by Scott Holladay. They look they came from an actual medical guide and the detailed descriptions and write-ups really give you some intel about heroes AND villains. Even my boy Bizarro has some information!

The writers of the book, S.D Perry and Matthew K. Manning, did a fantastic job of putting Batman’s words onto paper. I could even hear some of his cynical tones when reading about Superman! There is a large section about my hero and I was very happy about that. I guess Bats still feels Superman is his biggest threat!

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Manning about his time on the book. I wanted to dive into brain that dived into Batman’s so here are a few of the questions I sent his way.


Which character was your favourite to work on in the book?
Probably Bane. I’ve been a fan of that character since his first appearance, and it’s always fun to delve into his past and abilities.
You have written many fantastic Batman stories so I am as sure you know the hero very well. Why do you feel he needs this guide?
Batman keeps extensive files in order to function as an efficient crime fighter. I’d written about many of his famous cases in The Batman Files for Andrews McMeel, but when Insight Editions approached me with the idea of Batman examining the powers of his allies and enemies, I knew it was something we hadn’t seen before to this extent. Ming Doyle’s artwork and S.D. Perry’s scientific theories really give the book a realistic weight I think fans will love.
How do you feel the Superheroes who are in this book would react if they knew that Batman had created it?
It would depend on the character. Superman, for instance, is very aware of who Batman is as a person. At this point, he just expects Bruce to keep tabs on him. Superman even gave Batman a Kryptonite ring so Batman can keep him in check in case he ever got out of control. He knows this is just how Bruce’s mind works, and trusts him, despite their differences.
Other characters, like Swamp Thing, might not be as keen on Batman dreaming up ways to defeat them. Most people don’t love the idea of being examined without their knowledge.
Which other characters in the comic universe do you feel deserve to be studied in this way? I hope there is a follow up book!
Flash seems like a fun one, digging into the Speed Force and such. I’d also love to take a look at a few oddballs like Metamorpho or Beast Boy.
If you were to be documented in such a way, which of your own personal “Super-Powers” would you like to be listed in your anatomical drawing.
I have a near infinite tolerance for chocolate and old comic books. So much so that school children will undoubtably study this ability in future years. It only makes sense for Batman to make a note of it now, before the chocolate inevitably kills me!
Matthew, thank you so much for answering my questions and good luck with the chocolate!

Each page deserves to a poster.

This book is a must for any coffee table, book shelf or desk. Whenever I see my copy, I find it hard not to pick up and start reading it again and again. With there being so many heroes and villains in the D.C Universe I hope that this fantastic book gets a sequel.

I have been a fan of the Insight Editions publications for some time but this is easily my favourite book in my collection, so far!

You can order your copy of  DC Comics: Anatomy of a Metahuman now from Amazon


Insight Edition’s Twitter.

Matthew K. Manning’s Twitter.

Categories: Interviews, Reviews

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