Say Hello To The New Boss: Reviewing ‘Poison Ivy’ #4

by Scott Redmond


‘Poison Ivy’ perfectly balances the line between horrifying and relatable as the title character navigates the complexities and horrors of human existence and tries to deal with her own conflicted nature. A truly gorgeous series that delivers on all fronts, from the deeply emotional to the terrifyingly grotesque, taking characters and readers on a truly unique journey within the DC Universe as well as our own.


The relationship between fiction and events within the real world is as old as time, and more often than not makes for richer stories. Pamela Isley’s next step in her plan to wipe out all of humanity takes her into the dark world of a giant corporation that ships commercial goods to the world and the dark underbelly of humanity.

Through these four issues, G. Willow Wilson has done a spectacular job at balancing out the two sides of Poison Ivy, showing us both the side that is very much a ‘villain’ who murders and wants to wipe out the world but also the side of someon caring and actually wants to help others. As the character walks a fine line, we the readers are also on that line with her because we see both sides and have to figure out how we feel about those sides and the whole package. A conflicted villatagonist is actually a far more interesting read any day of th week, in my opinion, than someone that is just outright unrepentantly evil.

Sure, Ivy came to this warehouse that is a clear stand-in for Amazon to spread her spores across the country for faster wiping out of humanity, but she also helped the workers there and found a bit of momentary human connection. This is also a horror series in many respects as we have witnessed what Ivy’s spores do, and it’s terrifying, but here we’re also put into the nightmare of what the powers that be and capitalism havpower-abusingn us. A power abusing boss, a workplace that treats workers like property to be used, and what this eternal drive to own things is doing to us.

It’s a given that Ivy’s plan will fail in some way, since the entirety of the DC Unidiee isn’t going to die, but that’s not what is important. What is important is the journey that Wilson is taking Ivy and all of us on through the issues. Character study stories are some of the best ones out there because they are filled with action and all that stuff, but the core is all about the character(s) and what makes them tick and how that relates to the realIn everyd in many ways.

Every issue Marcio Takara and Arif Prianto create something visually spectacular, that slides between absolutely gorgeous and terrifying at the drop of a hat. Simple grounded moments such as the meeting with George Halloran (the aforementioned abusive boss) appear detailed and normal with colors that feel familiar to us, while ones such as the hallucination in the factory space or anything to do with the spore visions are wild and warping filled with bright vivid otherworldly style colors. All the scenes though when she goes after Georggenuinelyhis office, are truly grotesque and terrifying but bright and colorful and powerful at the same time and I love it.

Inherently there is a heaviness to this story, and we feel that within the art and colors, until the moments where Ivy is more content, things feel lighter and brighter because she is happier in the moment. Such as when thinking about her plan for the packages, or as soon as she disposes of George and runs off to have an intimate moment with new co-worker Jesslyn. The choice to frame that scene with the mental image of Harley sitting happily as Jesslyn/Ivy’s movements are just shadows on the wall, was so good. It allowed us to see things differently as Ivy’s mind is both on the current moment and also on her love for Harley.

Helping make all of this work, even more, is the fantastic lettering work that Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou pulls out every single issue. From the always great depiction of the journal captions from Ivy (giving us a great peek into her mind) to the warped text and bubbles that come with the wild terrifying nightmare hallucination moments, we get in this book. Often, I like seeing sentence case used as a sort of normal tone of speaking, have to say I really dig how Otsmane-Elhaou uses it to indicate whispering while a leveled all caps case is the normal volume and then bubbles get all huge and text skyrockets in size for the yelling/terror moments.

Bubbles that are jagged to fit in sounds made as something happens or just a giant exclamation point are some fantastic comic book stuff I love to see. Not to mention all the powerful very much felt and hard-to-miss SFX that is most certainly something we the reader can hear as we gaze upon these pages.

Poison Ivy #4 is now available from DC Comics.

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