‘Poison Ivy’ continues to take readers on a gorgeous yet horrifying journey deep into the character, but also deep into human emotions and issues in a truly honest and powerful way. A truly character-defining run that is being put together here, a series that everyone needs to be picking up and reading.
The line between dreams and nightmares is about as thin as some say the line between love and hate can be, which is something that Pamela Isley/Poison Ivy is learning a lot about lately. They say that a hero is only as good as their villains, and the rogues that populate the Batman side of comic books happen to be some of the best in comics. Because they are heavily nuanced and have deep wells of character that are drawn from time and time again.
Right now, we’re getting some truly spectacular Poison Ivy work, as this series really opens the character up and puts her whole mental and emotional being on display.
Through the first two issues, it’s been made clear that Ivy is on a mission, a mission to rid the world of humanity (including herself) after she had the power of the Green ripped away from her by those that she loves. We’ve seen flashes of the ‘good’ within Ivy still through memories of Harley Quinn or some small favors she does, but at the same time, she has done awful things. Here with the third issue, G. Willow Wilson decides to take a bit different road in showing us, even more, how conflicted Ivy is as there is still good that she does and could do if she were able to come back from her destructive path.
Through the truly amazing work that Marcio Takara and Arif Prianto are doing visually, we get to see a version of Ivy within her dreams where she is still healthy and flourishing with her love Harley as they are surrounded by natural elements. The entirety of this series is so beautiful as Takara and Prianto easily marry a surreal sort of feeling that works for the dreams and horrific moments of this series with moments that are more grounded/real and come with a heavy feeling.
In many cases starting with a dream where a loved one is acting as a dream conscience trying to turn the protagonist back from their dark path, might feel cliché. Wilson is a writer that easily surpasses that because here it not only feels earned, but it feels real. Harley very much would be in a strange way the part of Ivy’s mind trying to bring her back, because of the deep loving bond that they share, no matter where they happen to be in their lives currently. Building off this moment, with a conflicted and ailing Ivy (her real self being paler with her physical and mental health getting worse) put in a position where she flourishes and does good and must come to grips seals the deal.
Honestly, it is all perfectly and humorously summed up with the line “I spend a lot of time contemplating murder. But what I really love is buying plants.” No matter how far gone she might seem, there is still a part of Ivy that embraces that there can still be good things done to take back part of the world that humanity has ruined.
Not only do we have Ivy’s journal entries to showcase what these moments of bliss are doing to her mentally, we see it fully on the page. There is far more brightness to the colors that Prianto is showcasing here and Takara nails the pages showing a much happier and even somewhat healthier looking Ivy through these pages. The simple act of bonding with someone and together doing good, bringing vivid life back to a small patch of Earth has an effect on her that we can see and feel. All of that shifts as they bring back a lot of the darkness and harder feelings on the page as Ivy’s hope starts to fade and she’s confronted by what is haunting her and what she feels has to be done.
What really works for this book is that not only is it a character study, but it’s also one that is not afraid to lean into a more depressing state as it really delves into the mental health of the lead character. A number of series are doing this so well lately at the various publishers, not shying away from the fact that these characters have a lot of the same worries, issues, concerns, and more that we real people deal with all the time.
Using Ivy’s journal entries to really showcase these mental journeys is a solid touch, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou makes them look so good on the page. That’s not all though, as the rest of the lettering work is just so energetic and beautiful. Volume and tone are clear in any given moment as the dialogue shifts from all-caps to sentence case or grows/shrinks in size. Sometimes it’s not even words that are giving the power, as there is a scene of surprise that is already well sold visually by what Takara drew but the addition of a large green dialogue bubble populated by a big exclamation point adds even more and adds a bit more playful energy to the whole issue.
Pamela Isley is going on a powerful journey right now, and thanks to the work of this creative team we’re being taken on our own amazing journey with each and every issue. A journey that I hope continues for quite some time because I’m fully on board for all that they have for us.
Poison Ivy #3 is now available from DC Comics