In today’s chapter of Poison Ivy, we get more great artwork, more scenes to remind the audience that, yes, Ivy loves Harley, and we get to explore the dueling sides of Ivy’s personality. But we, unfortunately, still don’t have a lot of plot progression or a clear sense of where this storyline is going to leave Ivy as a character. That’s not to say there aren’t good elements to be found in this comic, but the series is starting to progressively feel more hollow since its first issue. It’s like filler for a story that wasn’t meant to take up 6 issues in the first place. But let’s get into the nitty gritty of the comic and see what new developments there are for Poison Ivy.
We open up with the best artwork in the entire comic series, so far. It’s a gorgeous, colorful dream sequence where Ivy is floating in a beautiful pond, with brightly colored plants all around. I think the art in itself continues to be carried by Arif Prianto’s colors. I love how he’s picked the perfect shades of green, pink, and blue that all complement each other in the sequence. Even the subtle blue reflection of the water on Ivy’s face in one panel helps set the mood. These are pages I could even imagine someone pinning up.
This dream sequence is dedicated to Ivy’s feelings about Harley. She dreams that Harley is there, asking her to come back, and telling her it’s never too late. Ivy refuses, but also says that she “wants to forget everything that’s not Harley,” and that Harley “tastes like the sap that rises in Springtime…”
I’m sorry, no. No, no, no, no, no. I cannot buy that Ivy would ever talk this way about a love interest, and certainly not Harley. It makes her sound way too sappy (no pun intended) and dependent, for one thing. I’m also not seeing how any of this is a natural way for Ivy to feel about Harley after Harley was the one who helped take away Ivy’s powers, which is the whole reason Ivy feels furious and suicidal in this comic.
However, instead of just complaining about Ivy and Harley, I’ll offer up an alternative way this could have been written, possibly for the better. Ivy should begin the series being furious at Harley for what she did, saying that she should have never cared about her, and becoming more resolute in her quest to end humanity with nothing holding her back. Then, she could have flashbacks throughout the series of times when Harley showed her how to have fun, or how to relax, or how to let go of her hate. Scenes like that would more successfully create an argument for why Ivy should care about Harley so much, and they’d be super helpful in re-establishing the relationship after years of confusion and limbo.
Instead, the Harley scenes seem mainly created to validate the desires of some fans, to a degree, rather than to be true to character and storyline. I’d also be lying if I didn’t feel this entire series wasn’t greenlit on the same basis on which other series, such as “Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane” or “The Amazing Mary Jane,” were green-lit. They’re all series that exist to continue to milk a popular character by giving their love interest a series, and that series must remind the audience, consistently, of who the main character is dating. Ironically though, I think this Ivy book is selling more than Harley’s current solo.
Back to Ivy’s characterization: after the dream sequence, she wakes up at a hotel, still resolute in her mission, but she does make a pit stop when she meets an old lady who wants her to help her to plant a garden. In this part, we get to legitimately see Ivy’s softer side. She wears a soft smile for once as she’s found something useful for herself to do: something that feeds her desire to help the natural earth thrive, without screaming bloody murder at humans. It’s an interesting doorway into who Ivy would be without the anger and insanity. But then, in the scene right after, we see Ivy sitting on her hotel bed, wickedly smirking over a news report over the people she’s turned into fungus.
Once again, I’m unsure of what is attempting to be shown of Ivy’s character. It’s almost like the story is trying to present her with things that challenge her motivation to destroy all humanity. Then, we go right back to a scene or a bit of internal dialogue that reveals Ivy still to be a cold-hearted terrorist. The scene of her and Harley and then the scene of her and the gardener would lead me to believe that this series is leading up to Ivy redeeming herself. However, she’s already gone down such a cold-hearted path, and committed so much murder in this story, that I don’t see how that would be believable.
Once again, if I were writing the story, I would dedicate each chapter of the comic to exploring a different area of Ivy’s past. One could be dedicated to her relationship with Harley, one could be about her experience with Woodrue, etc. They would serve to reiterate who Poison Ivy is as an entire character, and why she has the motivations and mentality she does. (I feel it’s often been forgotten that Ivy herself is a mentally ill character, like most of Batman’s rogues). This storytelling would be important, because, after literally a decade of DC forgetting who Ivy is as a character, it would be great to get a comic that lays out who she is again and give the character a clear definition.
This comic has been teasing the appearance of Jason Woodrue, which could give me a bit of what I’m looking for. Hopefully, it will explore Ivy’s origins again to nail down why she wants to recreate the earth as a natural paradise. We’re halfway through the series, though, and I’m still talking about the same two aspects about Ivy’s character: her relationship with Harley and the conflict over whether she’s good or bad. In the end, I think the answer to the latter question will be decided based on what DC wants to do with Harley and Ivy as a couple. That’s a shame to me, because Ivy’s a fantastic character in her own right, and I wish there was more investment in bringing Ivy back to life as a character for her own sake.
- You want to see Poison Ivy’s softer side.
- You would like to have some great, framable, artwork.
- Any scene with Harley/Ivy as a couple interests you.
Overall: I still don’t think G. Willow Wilson’s Poison Ivy is a bad book. There’s definitely entertaining elements here. It’s just that I think this book could be so much more. Poison Ivy has so much potential to be a complex, sympathetic character, but you have to do the work to make that happen and not confuse complexity with things that are contradictory.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.