When you ask people about Poison Ivy they will generally tell you that she’s a villain from Batman who can control plants. There will also be people who go into further detail and tell you that she’s Dr. Pamela Isley or that she’s in a relationship with Harley Quinn. While these are technically true, they don’t tell the whole story. If we take everything we know about Poison Ivy from the movies, cartoons, and comics there is still more information to learn. Poison Ivy is a complex character and Amy Chu shows us that in Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death.
The writing for this story allows us to get inside Poison Ivy’s head. Chu allows us to see the humanity in Poison Ivy: the side of her which has trouble connecting with others unless it’s on a botanical level. Poison Ivy gets a second chance in the science world after having a thorny past, but things are anything but simple. The only element which bothers me is that some of the dialogue feels a little cliche. It works in context, but I wish there was something which made those panels a little more interesting and more relevant to the storyline. I’m not going to dismiss the possibility that this approach is foreshadowing events which we have yet to see develop. One of the things which I love about this book is that the writing gives us a look at strong women, like Dr. Isley, working in a male-dominated industry. It’s important when many women lose interest in the sciences as they grow older. My hope is that this will serve as encouragement to young girls who pick up this book, regardless of what field they plan on going into in the future.
This book sets the tone of what to expect from this mini-series. Poison Ivy clearly has some internal struggles which she is dealing with along with some unexpected problems. Clay Mann’s attention to detail creates artwork which compliments the writing impeccably. The use of negative space gives emphasis to key details revealing personal tidbits of Poison Ivy’s life. Mann also gives a sexiness to Poison Ivy without it coming across as vulgar. It’s still appropriate despite nudity. There were also enjoyabvle little touches in the art which hint at Poison Ivy’s past.
This book was a pleasant surprise and a great set up for this mini-series. When it comes to the girls of Gotham, I had always hoped for a Poison Ivy comic. It gives us a look at Poison Ivy which we haven’t seen before; one where she’s the focus. We get to see the professional side of her as opposed to the criminal or anti-hero side of her. This book will appeal to fans of the Batman franchise as well as newer female readers. DC deserves to be applauded for taking a character longtime fans are familiar with and giving her a new start for new readers, earning it a solid 7/10.