Batman: Night Cries by Archie Goodwin

details
Title: Batman: Night Cries.
Writer(s): Archie Goodwin.
Co-Plotter(s): Archie Goodwin & Scott Hampton.
Artist(s): Scott Hampton.
Letterer: Hampton-Munsey.
Publisher: DC Comics.

Format: Hardcover.
Release Date: August 28th, 1992.
Pages: 96.
Genre(s): Comics, Superheroes, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781563890598.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

thoughts

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.


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9 thoughts on “Batman: Night Cries by Archie Goodwin

  1. Is this the same Archie Goodwin who edited the Groo the Wanderer comics? I can’t imagine there are 2 people with that name both working in the comic business.

    Crimes like those talked about in this book are a big reason I’m firmly in the camp that law enforcement is to apprehend and punish law breakers, NOT prevent crimes. Too many people think otherwise and that has led us to where we are today with the majority of people clamoring to give anyone who claims they can prevent “the latest evil” all the authority they can, whether that person has the moral OR legal right to such authority.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s him alright. What a fun coincidence. I promise I didn’t intentionally pick this up just to sneak Archie Goodwin into the whole Batman world of comics! 😛

      While I don’t think cops should be held responsible for the existence of that crime, I still think that we can do something about the matter by making us more aware of the risks and indicators of such crimes within our entourage, and a lot of professionals specialized in criminology can help identify it all. While preventing it is far from easy, we definitely can do something about catching them and then doing something about it. As for what we do about it… Well, we sure do know that this varies from one village/city/state/country to another hahaha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad to see you’ve found another quality Batman story you enjoyed, even if about some troubling subjects. I really enjoy the artwork style in this one. There are some other comics I’ve read that have this look and it makes me wonder if they might have also been done by Scott Hampton. They were older stories so might fit given the age of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last time I came across a style like this one was the classic Grant Morrison story Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth which was illustrated by Dave McKean! You’ve definitely reminded me that it deserves a reread. I’m quite glad that I picked up something quite good of everything I still haven’t read. Hopefully, the next ones will continue down this line! Thanks for reading, Todd! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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