The last issue of Poison Ivy was the first time we got to see the titular character in her superhero form. The comic followed the traditional structure of having a main protagonist fight the big bad corporate CEO. The comic ended with our hero in peril with the question of how she would overcome her predicament.
However, our “hero” is Poison Ivy, someone who’s been far more consistently characterized as a mass-murderer, and who has made a very quick turnaround only a couple of chapters ago.
Does this issue do anything to win skeptical readers over to Ivy as a hero? Well, let’s take a look!
A Better Book…
I actually enjoyed this comic better than the last issue. That’s mainly due to the fact that it finally focuses on someone who can see Ivy objectively. The crux of the story is that a former co-worker of Ivy’s named Janet reluctantly agrees to save Ivy. For once we get a perspective on Ivy that isn’t from herself, a naive stranger, an evil villain, or someone who unconditionally accepts Ivy no matter what she does. Janet knows Ivy is a murderer. This is why she’s initially hesitant to save Ivy at all. However, through the story, Janet comes to see the layers of Ivy’s personality. It’s nice to see Ivy with a foil who neither condones her actions nor frames her as someone to be eradicated. Janet herself is a descent human being. She’s much easier to root for compared to Ivy with all of her baggage.
…But Still Not Great
That said, there’s still a lot of flaws in this comic that keep it from being a recommended buy. I’m still not a fan of the stiff artwork. The artist uses little to no line work which gives a sense of movement to these characters. It’s especially noticeable when there’s a fight scene. It looks like Janet’s leg is frozen in mid-air against her opponent in the battle.
Meanwhile, Poison Ivy begins to suffer from glaring dialogue problems the book never really had before. At one point, Janet’s boss confronts her, but Janet fights back. “…Now I get a lecture from boss lady who is super feminist until it’s time to give employees maternity leave,” she says. Look, I agree with the fact that there are a lot of big companies and CEOs today who tout feminism but refuse to give maternity leave because it’s expensive and more profitable to keep women working. That said, just because I agree with the standpoint does not mean this makes for natural dialogue. In a tense situation, people don’t just stop in their tracks and articulate the negative political behavior of their opponent.
Does This Direction Work?
At the end of the day, the heroic direction for Ivy still doesn’t sit well with me. Ivy’s still a killer, but her new stance seems to allow her to do “good” when it specifically pertains to social issues. This time around we have Ivy help someone overcome their issues with health insurance.
And that just sounds like what someone would LIKE Poison Ivy to represent, rather than what she has always represented.
- Poison Ivy is your hero.
This chapter of Poison Ivy was more readable than the last, but at the same time, problems with the dialogue and artwork are increasing. I also am not exactly sure what this book is building towards anymore with its story of Ivy as being more heroic. It seems like it would have been better if DC kept this to six issues.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.