Detective Comics #23.1 – Poison Ivy #1 review

Poison Ivy #1 doesn’t move the Forever Evil story forward beyond showing us that Ivy is wrecking the town with sprouting plants (but we all figured that would happen) but it does give us an updated New 52 origin for the character as well as a recap as to what she’s been up to since the reboot 2 years ago.

As I said, there’s a great deal of destruction and that’s the way the book opens. Police blimps are flying overhead, but the only police presence on the ground is a flipped over patrol vehicle and 2 other cops who are too busy complaining about the job to actually help citizens in need. Where is Red Robin? Where is Batgirl? Where is Azrael? Talon? Red Hood? Not everyone was “killed” by the Crime Syndicate at the end of Trinity War so what became of the world’s other heroes and what happened to the GCPD and the military? Are we missing a chapter? Should this story be read after Forever Evil #1 or Forever Evil: Arkham War #1?

Derek Fridolfs does a fine job of using the things Poison Ivy sees in the Gotham disaster area to conjure up old memories except for the initial memory that started it all. While the catalyst for most of her flashbacks are her surroundings, a heated argument between parents standing in the middle of the street is what spurs her thoughts on childhood. Don’t get me wrong, child custody and breaking one’s restraining order is a big deal and all, but it felt really out of place for these two to be having this fight while standing among the rubble that used to be their city. There are riots in the streets, giant plants bursting from the ground, and these two are having a domestic dispute?

Besides the destruction (I’m starting to lose count of how many times Wayne buildings have been blown up this year) the story at the heart of this issue is Pamela Isley’s origin. Like pretty much every other New 52 Bat-villain’s origin, the clock is wound all the way back to a tragic childhood. However, I thought that element worked quite well in writer Derek Fridolfs’ narrative as it wasn’t too over-the-top. It was believable and Pamela’s villainy never showed itself until later in life. No, instead, the problem I had with the origin was that it’s now been altered to more closely tie Pamela to Bruce Wayne. The accident she suffered that gave her these abilities took place while she was interning for Wayne Enterprises. My problem with this? It felt all too familiar to the Mr. Freeze origin we saw in the Batman annual.

And what became of the security guard who was at the scene of the accident? He looks close enough to have had some green gunk splashed his way as well.

The artwork by Javier Pina and colorist John Kalisz is quite nice. I particularly liked the flashback pages because there was a really unique coloring effect that made it look as though the imagery was printed on different paper. Poison Ivy’s New 52 design, however still bugs me. She’s one of the few villains that actually has sex appeal as one of the key weapons in her arsenal. It actually makes sense for Poison Ivy to be scantily clad and yet she shows less skin than almost all of the female rogues and she has a Mike Tyson tattoo obscuring her face (it’s part of the suit or something). I also used to have a problem with Poison Ivy being so over-powered, but it’s something I’ve gotten used to and just don’t have the energy to complain about anymore.

Recommended If…

  • You like Poison Ivy (obviously)
  • You’re interested in hearing Poison Ivy’s origin story


It’s an alright little done-in-one Poison Ivy story with nice artwork. There’s nothing here that’s going to surprise you or to give you something to meditate on, but it’s entertaining.

SCORE: 6.5/10