A stand-alone Batman book where he confronts child abuse.

Publication year: 1995
Format: print
Publisher: Warner Books
Page count: 196 + David Hechler’s essay on Child Sex Tourism

Bruce Wayne is in a charity event for the Gotham Museum. An otherwise dull evening becomes more colorful when a child protective services caseworker Debra Kane confronts a rich woman about the way the rich ignore the roots of evil. According to Debra, child abuse is the reason why people become criminals. Bruce is interested and when Debra offers to take him along with her rounds, he agrees. As Bruce learns about the ways that children are abused right in Gotham, Batman confronts an organized crime ring where children are bought, sold, and abused.

I had no idea what the book was about, so I was rather surprised by the way that real world problems are brought together with an iconic superhero. However, I think that using Batman to highlight this problem was appropriate since some Batman comic stories also discuss why criminals are the way they are. Also, it’s more appropriate for Batman than more powerful, cosmic heroes. However, the theme was very obvious, and some characters clearly preached the author’s POV. Of course, it’s a very important matter, but people expecting a few hours of mindless superhero stories could be disappointed.

Debra Kane is a very dedicated social worker whose only role in the story is to introduce Batman to the subject and highlight it. In this story, Batman has been fighting crime for years alone and is wondering if it will ever end. He’s a bit embittered but still just as dedicated to his work as Debra is to hers. I also found it strange that Batman is called the night-rider rather than his more usual titles, like the dark knight or caped crusader.

Overall, this was an ok story with a very important message.