BATMAN: THE ULTIMATE EVIL
As anyone who knows me or has at least read through my initial posts knows, the name for this awareness page is taken from the title of a novel written by Childrens’ rights attorney and child abuse activist, Andrew Vachss, and featuring Bob Kane and DC Comics Batman.
I’ve previously mentioned Batman: The Ultimate Evil by Andrew Vachss, but I’ve never posted a clear explanation as to the content. The reason being is because I’ve never read the book in its entirety. Only segments and descriptions by other child abuse awareness persons, book reviews that gave it high marks, as well as an explanation by the author, himself.
I’ve tried to find the book in the store, but to no avail. I’ve tried ordering it but found they were out. I am still determined to own this book, and when I do and have read it, I will comment in my own words my opinions and feelings.
Until then, I believe this is the most well-written as well as complete diagnostic I have found. It was written by a book reviewer and posted on this site: http://www1.epinions.com/content_106158460548 The following is an exact copy/paste of his review.
I also encourage you to read through Andrew Vachss’ website, particularly in respects to this book: Batman: The Ultimate Evil and the coinciding Don’t Buy Thai campaign. Although, all of the links on his site, The Zero, are very informative and worth checking into for anyone interested in the welfare of our children.
Though most people would not consider comic books to be a serious forum, they might be surprised to learn just how often comics address all too real issues facing society and the world at large. In Batman: The Ultimate Evil, author Andrew Vachss appropriates one of the genre’s most popular heroes, the Batman, in his novel that deals with perhaps the most significant issue of all: child abuse, both sexual and physical. Batman: The Ultimate Evil is at times disturbing, but it is definitely worth reading all the same. Far from light entertainment, this is a surprisingly sober examination of a grim problem.
In Batman: The Ultimate Evil, the author brings the reader to a nightmare world few of us are familiar with , as seen through the eyes of a child services social worker and the Caped Crusader himself. As Bruce Wayne, Batman accompanies Debra Kane through a day of her investigations of alleged child abuse. What he sees horrifies him, and as the Caped Crusader becomes obsessed with the problem, he discovers an even more horrifying evil: organized traffic in child pornography, and worse, children themselves.
But there is more to be unearthed, and soon Batman discovers that his own parents were murdered because of his mother’s efforts to convict the kingpin of a child pornography ring. Now infused with a terrifying desire for vengeance, the Batman moves to shut down the ring and bring his mother’s murderer to justice. But to do so, he must travel to the country of Udon Khai and face his foe where he is most powerful.
Posing undercover as a “sex tourist” trying to buy a child prostitute, the Dark Knight discovers just how pervasive and accepted the problem is. With huge profits making bribes to local officials all too easy, child prostitution is accepted as a fact of daily life in Udon Khai. But not for long, it the Batman has anything to say about it, and as he narrows the trail to the traffickers in ultimate evil, a climactic confrontation brings they story to a close.
This is definitely a somber novel, and the author takes great pains to use it as a vehicle to promote greater awareness about the problem of child abuse and the effects it has upon the child throughout his or her entire life. To be sure, Vachss points out, abuse can at times cause the victim to one day become an abuser himself. He hammers through the point that mistreated children are the largest single cause of adult criminal behavior.
Most of the time, however, this is not the case. To use the excuse that abusers should be pardoned because they were once victims themselves, the author implies, is a monumental disservice to the vast majority of victims who work to overcome their nightmare experiences and lead productive lives as adults.
Vachss works just as hard to generate outrage against the worst offenders of all: those who participate and traffic in child pornography. A growing problem that can be incredibly lucrative for those involved, child pornography and prostitution is a practice that is unfortunately not looked upon as negatively in some countries as it is here in the United States.
Indeed, the author even includes a segment identifying which countries are the worst offenders and what you can do to make your outrage known to and felt by them. There is also a report included on the child sex tourism industry detailing this abhorrent trade and identifying the worst offenders.
In the world of fiction, it’s great to know that costumed heroes like the Batman are there to bring the bad guys to justice. In the real world, we don’t have that luxury. Fortunately, we do have heroes like Andrew Vachss, who work tirelessly to improve awareness of the evils of child abuse. Like the Batman, they strive to make a difference in the world, and make it a better place for everyone. After reading Batman: The Ultimate Evil, you may just begin to believe that maybe, just maybe, superheroes aren’t fictional after all.
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