Batwoman Makes Ryan Wilder More Like Batman Than Kate Kane Was

Warning: The following feature contains SPOILERS for Batwoman Season 2, Episode 2 “Prior Criminal History.”

The most recent episode of Batwoman revealed that Ryan Wilder is closer to Batman than Kate Kane in one respect; they both share a childhood fear of bats. While the roots of Ryan’s fear have yet to be revealed, it is both ironic and fitting that she should take up the mantle of the Bat to protect Gotham City in the Arrowverse.

Ryan’s fear was revealed shortly after she visited Mary Hamilton’s underground clinic and was stunned to find the rich pre-med student working to treat the poor for free. Despite a rocky start, the two women came to bond over their shared hatred of Alice, who was responsible for killing both of their mothers. Coincidentally, it was at that moment that one of Mary’s orderlies brought in the body of Mouse; Alice’s right-hand man, which had apparently been fed upon by several small animals before being found by homeless people in the sewer tunnels under Gotham City.

Related: Alice’s Batwoman Plan Copies A Mission Impossible 2 Twist

Mary performed a toxicology test which determined that Mouse had died from ingesting the same rare toxin that Alice had used to kill her mother and that Mouse had been dead long before the animals started chewing on his body. As she explained this to Ryan and Luke Fox, Mouse’s corpse began to convulse, and a bat erupted from his chest, apparently having chewed its way out before flying free. While Mary and Luke rightly found this disturbing, they did not react as violently as Ryan, who was the only one of them to scream. When Ryan noticed them starring at her afterward, she became defensive, noting that she really hated bats.

Chiroptophobia (the technical term for the fear of bats) is a trait Ryan Wilder shares with Bruce Wayne, who has also been depicted as having a childhood fear of bats. The first notable occurrence of this came in a flashback in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, in which a young Bruce Wayne fell into a cave full of bats. Batman: Year OneĀ also made reference to Bruce Wayne having a fear of bats, in the scene where Bruce, having had a disastrous first night as a vigilante, became inspired to “become a bat” and adopt the image of the bat to strike terror into the hearts of criminals because of his own phobia.

The Batman movies of Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder both paid homage to these moments and made Bruce Wayne’s conquering his fear a major milestone of his journey to becoming a hero. By the episode’s end, Ryan finds herself similarly tested as Batwoman and is forced to confront her fear while putting aside her desire for revenge to save the city. In this, Ryan shares a common touchstone with Bruce Wayne that Kate Kane never did in the comics or in the Arrowverse.

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