Batman has been having quite the eventful year, so far. Between wedding plans going awry and dark, metal-like dimensions piercing his own, it's safe to say that 2018 has brought its fair share of challenges; at times, it's as though the Dark Knight can't catch a break - everything moves at a blistering pace and there's little time, if any, for either Batman or his readers to sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and soak up the atmosphere of the DC mythos.
That's where Anatomy of a Metahuman comes in. Published by Insight Editions, written by S.D. Perry and Matthew K. Manning and with art provided by the formidable Ming Doyle, this latest DC encyclopaedia is a veritable who's who of the publisher's superpowered beings, whether they be a hero, or indeed a villain. It's also written entirely from the Dark Knight's perspective, offering a fascinating insight into the way Bruce Wayne perceives his allies and enemies as one of the few mortals present in the Justice League.
The book, totalling in at 159 pages, features profiles on the likes of Superman, Swamp Thing, Cyborg and Bane, and comes entombed in a luxurious hardcover embossed with snippets of Doyle's aforementioned illustrations. It's a wonderful book, and for those die hard Bat-fans who've always pined for a more in-depth look at how the Caped Crusader perceives the world around him, it's also invaluable. There is just so much detail crammed into these pages, and while it's great to learn that Bruce himself is a superb illustrator, the plaudits belong to Doyle and Doyle alone, who offers everything from detailed sketches of iconic DC characters, to intricate diagrams of cells, chemical formulas, and even Jack Kirby's signature Apokoliptian architecture.
Particular attention has been paid to nailing Bruce's voice, and to that end, Perry and Manning deserve extra praise. It's what distinguishes Anatomy of a Metahuman apart from other DC tomes, and while most other comic book encyclopaedias have proven to be valuable resources over time, the added wrinkle of this book being Bruce's last line of defence against a metahuman gone awry genuinely does make it that little bit more compelling, and makes it more of a page-turner than just another breakdown of the DC Universe.
It's both entertaining and insightful, and that's where Perry, Manning and Doyle's text really sets itself apart from the competition. It brilliantly executes its unique premise and provides a different way of discovering DC's mythos, with a narration from one of its most compelling characters.