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January 29, 2016

DC Reviews: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1

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Written by: Kristin
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poison ivy 1Title: Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 (of 6)
Author: Amy Chu
Art: Clay Mann
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Publisher: DC Comics
Vintage: January 20, 2016, $2.99

Doctor Pamela Isley is in Africa searching for an ancient plant – “the living fossil,” welwitschia mirabilis. This particular one is over 2,000 years old, and she wants to protect it, by moving it to Gotham Botanical Gardens. Through a friend, Dr. Luisa Cruz, she’s taken a legitimate job on the staff, where she can study plants and run her experiments. A particular Academy in Gotham cameos for a field trip, and Pamela shows off her research in creating plant-animal hybrids. The field trip is interrupted when Dr. Harleen Quinzel butts her way into the lab. The two old friends go out for a drink, get into a little tussle with some harassing drunks, but then Harley storms off after Pamela makes some disparaging comments about her ex-boyfriend. Pamela goes home, confident she’s better off with her plants than other humans. Except for Luisa, the woman who has given her a second chance. Unfortunately, the peaceful life Pamela’s finally found is getting a rude awakening.

This comic is everything I wanted. Pamela Isley, scientist. Pamela Isley, archaeological botanist. The (hopeful) promise that they’ll be ditching that ugly New 52 black suit to go back to Ivy’s leaf bustier. Poison Ivy the half-human, half-plant hybrid, who sometimes loses sight of her humanity, and doesn’t know if she’s more plant than human. A reminder that Harley Quinn has a PhD in Psychiatry. Phenomenal artwork, beautiful colors, and excellent writing. I couldn’t be happier. Well, I could if they hadn’t slipped Harley in there. I like her well enough (though I’m not a fan of New 52 Harley), but I don’t want this to turn into yet another Harley comic book that merely co-stars Poison Ivy. This is Ivy’s book, she’s the star. Though I can certainly understand putting her into the first issue to boost sales (which is what I suspect). And I can admit that watching them kick ass together was pleasant (especially when Ivy grew an entire tree out of a single slice of lime). Hopefully cameos are short and few in this series; we only get six issues, after all. That said, there’s always a possibility for an ongoing if the mini sells well, especially since DC is about to do yet another reboot. I’m probably in the minority of her fans in that I’d rather have the occasional mini-series than an ongoing; she’ll be treated better if she’s able to sort of exist outside of the main verse canon, where she’s not forced into big events. Or falling victim to lagging sales the longer the run (which would probably be blamed on her gender, as such things often are). But this right here, penned by Amy Chu and drawn by Clay Mann, is nigh perfection. I can’t wait for the next issue. And, I mean, I was pretty damn excited for this one, too. I dressed up the day it came out and hit a couple of local stores to buy copies (I ended up with three physical copies and one on comiXology, as well as a New Batman Adventures Ivy figure). My only regret is that I didn’t manage to track down the Terry Dodson/Rachel Dodson variant for a reasonable price, but I’m sure it’ll end up in the TPB. Thank you, Amy Chu, for treating my girl right.





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