Title: Batman: Night Cries.
Writer(s): Archie Goodwin.
Co-Plotter(s): Archie Goodwin & Scott Hampton.
Artist(s): Scott Hampton.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: August 28th, 1992.
Genre(s): Comics, Superheroes, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating:
There are crimes occurring far too often around the world that remain hidden from the public until it’s too late. These terrible sins bring forth a terrifying reality that we are sometimes simply unable to process, some refusing to accept that it exists when humanity that tries to strive for happiness and peace. While efforts can be multiplied and prioritized to prevent these crimes, it remains a difficult crime to denounce and a touchy subject that is still confronted with communication barriers among people. Teamed up with artist Scott Hampton, writer Archie Goodwin thus looks to explore the real world crime of child abuse as Batman and Commissioner Gordon seek to demystify a series of murders shocking citizens of Gotham City.
What is Batman: Night Cries about? As Batman and Commissioner James Gordon investigate cases regarding drug pushers, gathered clues lead them to establish a common denominator that revolves around a series of murders implicating instances of child abuse with the death of the children’s parents. When they both set their minds to unraveling this mystery, Batman finds himself accused of being the disturbed and unhinged vigilante behind these murders with only a little girl out there to clear his name, while Commissioner Gordon relives his own troubled past as he desperately tries to come to terms with his own abuse as a child. Despite everything, it is up to these two to elucidate this mystery and break a vicious cycle of unforgivable crimes.
“In the night, he listens. And only the sound of his own voice comes to him, screaming in frustration. The cry of a lone bat. Unable to find its way.”— Archie Goodwin
This turned out to be a wonderful surprise in terms of originality. The story invites readers on an eye-opening journey into a world of crimes where premonition would have been the only way to stop these crimes from occurring. How writer Archie Goodwin ties it together with Commissioner James Gordon’s conflictual family context also makes for an interesting angle that offers readers the chance to understand the readily accessible coping mechanisms we effortlessly embrace when facing traumatic events and the regretful easiness with which some of us find ourselves stuck in a cycle of violence perpetuated by our own traumas. The story also evolves in a way that allows both Batman and Gordon to reflect on this issue and handle it with the necessary sensitivity that you would otherwise see overlooked in these characters who often have to confront psychopathic villains with more resilience, coldness, and force.
Artist Scott Hampton also brings into play a unique layer of abstraction and morbidness with his artistic vision, consisting of a style entirely painted with detailed and expressive strokes. Focused mostly on drowning the story in darkness, expertly utilizing shadows to plunge the narrative into an appropriate and sinister atmosphere, it conveys a certain sense of urgency and tragedy that is difficult to achieve otherwise. He also does an impressive job in capturing emotion in his characters, rarely missing the mark despite the awkwardness of doing so with paint, while also utilizing brighter colours to express gentler moments, kinder faces, and pure innocence. All in all, his artwork is impressive and remained complimentary to the haunting narrative in this graphic novel.
Batman: Night Cries is a visually striking yet narratively-saddening tale exploring the devastating reality of child abuse through the eyes of the Dark Knight and Commissioner James Gordon.