The name Batman brings terror in the eyes of all those who want to make their evil schemes successful in the fictionalised city of Gotham, Batman’s home. However, many of the tools that the Caped Crusader uses in his battles against Joker, Penguin, The Riddler and Mr Freeze etc., have either inspired soldiers in real life or have been taken from ideas that were presented to the law enforcement agencies over the years, with or without seeing the light of the day.
In Agnieszka Biskup’s The Science Behind Batman’s Tools, you will get to know about all the tools that the Dark Knight carries with himself whenever he is out battling the villains. From the most common Batarang to smoke bombs, every gadget has a purpose and a unique characteristic that distinguishes it from the other.
The Batarang is, in fact, an extension of boomerang, a common stick that kids usually play with, however, Batman’s version is far superior and dangerous. It might fall in the category of the star-shaped metal plates called shuriken used by ninjas in Japan, because of the destruction that follows.
Then there is a grapnel gun that Batman carries with him that allows him to climb buildings with the help of a hook attached to a rope. A similar instrument is used by army soldiers all over the world to climb structures such as mountains, buildings etc. And if you didn’t know how the earliest weapon invented by men — a bola — has been revolutionised by the Caped Crusader, this book will explain it to you. Back then the weapon that is made of cords around weight was used by hunters to catch their prey, now Batman uses it to bring the bad guys down.
Batman also has smoke bombs, periscopes and rebreathers ready for action, but this book discusses their working with the readers, giving them all the more reasons to be interested in the science instead of the comic.
However, the highlight of the book remains the ‘Bat Facts’, which provide trivia that you may not find elsewhere, since it’s regarding your favourite superhero and his tools.
The glossary at the end also is a fun read as it explains the meanings of words you may not have read before. Trust me, once you are done with the book, you will want to know more about the vigilante who keeps the streets safe for his city folks and makes us all believe that one man can make a difference.
Published in Dawn, Young World, March 2nd, 2019