It was always clear that Jody Houser was after Batman in her superheroine comic book for Young Animal, but Mother Panic #4 (DC Comics) brings just how she wants to explore Batman into a much sharper focus. And she does so by asking a simple question: What would happen if Batman weren’t just an orphan, but the victim of abuse?
Houser and artist Shawn Crystal have been interrogating the Batman mythos for a while. Violet Paige plays the role of spoiled socialite a-hole to the hilt, although it’s not entirely an act, and this issue in particular looks squarely at the hypocrisy of both the basic idea behind Batman, which Houser articulates an argument for in the opening of the book, and Violet herself. Violet is getting revenge, and at least admits as much, but even if Violet can’t quite face the fact that what she’s doing is unhealthy, her book can.
All this is thrown in sharp relief when she finally meets the supposed villain of the piece. Except the two have common cause, and an unexpectedly deep emotional bond. And also, potentially, a deeply poisonous one, which we can’t wait to see the book explore.