Wednesday, September 4, 2013

SPOILERS: Detective Comics #23.1

The power is out in Gotham (again, see Forever Evil #1) and Poison Ivy is having a nice stroll through the city, leaving her plants in her wake. She comes across a woman being chased by the father of her daughter, who is hiding in some nearby bushes, and while Ivy deals with the man in her own special way, it triggers some memories of her own childhood.

As with most Gotham villains nowadays, we find out that Ivy didn't have a great childhood. She had a skin condition that caused her to spend a lot of time out of the son, but her mother wanted her to live her life like a normal little girl... Her father on the other hand didn't see it that way, and used his fist as an argument method. But, Ivy's father always bought back her mother's forgiveness with gifts like flowers, which were all planted in a large garden in their yard. But things didn't go all that well, and deteriated to the point where Ivy's father accidentally killed his wife, and burried her body in the garden, only to be caught and arrested.

Fast-forward the origin a bit, and we find Ivy in college, where she experiments with early forms of her pheromone powers, making them pills she'd sell on her campus. She got caught, arrested and was on the verge of expulsion, but she used her one call to contact the dean, and used her womanly charms to get out of trouble, and eventually go on to graduate summa cum laude.

With her life on track, so to speak, Ivy decides it's finally time to confront her father in prison. When he's sat down across from her by the guards, neither of them speak or do anything, until Ivy jumps over the table to give her father a kiss on the cheek. As one would expect, physical contact isn't allowed in visitation, so her father is dragged off, and dies mysteriously from heart failure a day later.

Next on Ivy's career path, she scores an internship at Kane Chemicals, a division of Wayne Enterprises. Eventually she gets a meeting with Bruce Wayne himself, by using her pheromone research to grease the wheels and get her in his office, something usually no first year intern could accomplish. She points out this fact, and pitches Bruce on using her pheromones as ways to influence people to say buy a product, effectively cutting the need for an advertising department. Obviously, Bruce finds some moral issues in Ivy's pitch, which eventually leads to her firing, and finding out that the contract she signed means they own her research. As she's being forcibly escorted off the property, she attempts to gather her notes, and in a struggle, gets doused in all her chemicals.

And that was that, Poison Ivy was born, and now with Gotham in chaos, she uses the opportunity to cover the city in her plants, and proclaim Gotham as her own green kingdom.


The Good:

The art was very pretty, I have to say. I really enjoyed the effect used to portray a different paper "feel" with the flash back scenes, which looked as if they were watercolored (they may have been, actually). I did also enjoy the early parts of Ivy's origin, and the use of her mother's garden as a very twisted metaphor for her family life.

The Bad:

The rest of Ivy's origin outside of the childhood stuff just seems sort of standard. Nothing about it really stands out. Then the stuff set in the present day is really just Ivy doing what you'd expect her to do, nothing all that special.

The Bottom Line:

The standout element of this issue was definitely the art, Javier Pina and colorist John Kalisz definitely produced a very eye-pleasing book, but unfortunately the story itself doesn't really stand out. That's not to say it was bad by any stretch, I honesty found it to be enjoyable, it just didn't add all that much to Ivy's character, especially if you're already familiar with her. That said, if you're a fan of Poison Ivy, it's still worth a look.



  1. This sounds like a mix of Mr. Freeze's origin from B:TAS and the Riddler from Batman Forever. I kind of miss her old origin. I'm not sure what changing it adds.

  2. I agree that this issue wasn;t amazing, but I still find it thoroughly satisfying.
    I'm not sure what her original origin story was, but this was still interesting.
    The story of her family was tragic but now I see her as more of a survivor of her very human experiences.
    The art was definitely beautiful.
    This issue also showed how much range Poison Ivy has in terms of her powers: controlling plant life, deadly kisses, thorn sprays, even creating plant monsters to assist her in battle.
    I guess it's okay that she's not in the New 52 Birds of Prey anymore. The original team in that series was more of an experiment, although the creative team could have made it work.
    Poison Ivy is too badass for that team now, I hope she can find a home in a different series.
    Good book overall!

  3. I'm finding myself enjoying all of the titles tied into Forever Evil.

  4. I've read few reviews and what I've read so far. I'm not digging the origin's past childhood or I guess once college. I think I like the original Poison Ivy origin's better. The whole idea of her feeling betrayed, victimized and then over coming it with utter rage and vengeance. Here it makes her seem like she was a cunning bitch once College. This reminds me a bit of Jonathan Cranes and Harley Quinn's origins. Which leaves me a bit disappointed. I think I liker her original origins better but I like the additional childhood origins which explains a lot.