Poison Ivy #4 review

I had a lot of complaints with the writing of Poison Ivy #3, so much so that I wrote several paragraphs on how I thought the story could improve. With this chapter, I’m pleased to say that it looks like most all of the problems I gave have been fixed! Is there a moment in this issue that still feels like a bit of a writing gaff? Sure, but I’ll talk about that when I get there. First, let’s talk about the positives.

What I love most about this issue is that it finally brings up Ivy’s history with Jason Woodrue. I haven’t seen that done very much lately. Ivy takes a job at an office and the new boss immediately reminds her of Woodrue. She can immediately sense who this man is and what he will do, but she has a mission and feels she is in control now.



That’s a very important aspect to Pamela Isley. She became Ivy out of tragedy. But, just as she was controlled and objectified, Ivy now objectifies and controls everyone in her path to get what she desires. It’s the true power she loves and wants to exert. But it is interesting to see times where Ivy’s coldness recedes a little bit when she meets a human going through similar experiences with which she can empathize. In this case, when she meets other workers (including another woman) who are experiencing sexual harassment at their job (thanks to Ivy’s new boss) Ivy finally does something positive for other human beings.

So Ivy goes to control this horrible boss with her toxins that will eventually kill him, ending his bad behavior. I actually loved all of this. It’s giving Ivy a good deed to do, while keeping her character motivations and brutality consistent. I get the sense that, by the end of the first 6 issues, Ivy will reach a place where she will find a way to keep this balance within her. She’s no hero, but she does still have a “humanity” to her, even if she often times does not what to admit it.

Marcio Takara, meanwhile, continues to deliver art that features surreal designs with warm, lush colors that juxtapose Ivy’s connection with the Green against the more mundane aesthetic of the real world. I especially liked the panel with Ivy, appearing as sort of a dark creature of the Green in the mind of the perverted boss. The letters are also embellished with a huge blood red font as Ivy commands “START TYPING GEORGE.” It reminded me of the 1997 Batman: Poison Ivy one-shot which also employed such visuals. I wonder if Marcio Takara did that research? Anyway, I always appreciate it when an artist really goes a step further to sell the intensity of what’s going on with the characters. 

Now for what I didn’t like in the story. Once Ivy has saved the employees from their pigish employer, the woman she shared one brief conversation with before gives her a kiss of gratitude. Immediately, Ivy decides they must head back to her place to hook up. This entire thing came completely out of nowhere to me. What made it so bad though, is that Ivy goes through a long inner monologue, directed at Harley, that essentially amounts to “I’m so sorry, for cheating on you, Harley, but it sure felt great!”


There’s this rather weird imagery around it, too, where an imaginary Harley sits in the corner with a childish smile on her face, watching Ivy get it on with her co-worker (something Ivy initiated and doesn’t go back on, no matter how much she insists she “thought of Harley”). I really hope everyone realizes the stake this puts in the Harley and Ivy relationship. Even when the two were friends, Ivy was meant to be there to open Harley’s eyes up to the signs that a certain love interest didn’t really care about her. Now, what is a major sign that someone you are romantically involved with doesn’t actually care about you? Cheating.

If Harley has come to have any of the self-respect that DC pretends she does, she should move away from Ivy after this, but I’m not sure of the intentions behind this sequence. Are they trying to move Harley and Ivy further apart? Or was this scene done without much thought? Either way, I should reiterate how tired I am of having Harley and Ivy so incessantly romanticized by people when this is the content of their relationship.

Recommend if…

  • You wanted to see Poison Ivy’s complexities further explored.
  • You are NOT a fan of Harley and Ivy, because this puts quite the stake in their relationship.
  • Marcio Takara’s art is still amazing for any comic book fan.

Overall

I’m pleased with how G. Willow Wilson has improved on the last couple of issues for this story. So far, I think expanding her work on the series for 12 issues is well deserved. I really appreciate seeing all these elements of Ivy’s character that had been cast aside brought back into the forefront again. That said, the portrayal of the Harley and Ivy “romance” keeps getting worse, and I really wish it would be cast aside.

Score: 7/10


Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.