Wednesday, March 21, 2018

SPOILERS: Batman #43

Tom King usually references a lot of obscure stuff, but this week... the major reference gets a whole page and it's very clear.

The Spoilers:

Batman's always got a plan, and Ivy has brought Harley to him, just as he had hoped. As Harley and everyone with "super" in their name watch over Bruce, Ivy and Selina have as close as a heart to heart as they're going to get. Ivy feels awful and responsible for killing in the War of Jokes and Riddles, and this is her misguided attempt to save the world and make up for that. Selina recognizes Ivy is hurt and tells her that there are people in the world that can help her, like Batman did for her and vis versa. Ivy scoffs at the idea of the two of them helping her, but that's not the idea.

Harley. Back in Bruce's room, pushes the issue, telling Ivy he knows that Harley just isn't anybody to her. Ivy pushes back saying he doesn't know what they are to each other and Bruce straight up pulls the no you're very much like this on Ivy.

To move things a long, the whole plan was to distract Ivy on two fronts, and knock both her and Harley out, followed by Batman waking Harley up a second before Selina wakes up Ivy (which is important, because you know... planes could start following). Whole point is, wake Harley up before Ivy so she's out of Ivy's control.

And they do, and again, to move things along, Batman gets Harley to allow them to go to Ivy. They do, and Harley simply asks how Ivy is doing, leading Ivy to breakdown in her arms. The issue with the deaths in War of Jokes and Riddles comes up again and Batman gives a "Wait, nah, Riddler was lying, he killed those dudes" which... I'm gonna have to look that up

Flash forward a bit, Ivy agrees to let everyone go and Superman takes her to Sanctuary (hey, that's the thing that's going to be a thing), as Bruce and Selina settle down for a night, telling each other they're going to be fine. 

The Opinion:

So, I just looked up that issue of War of Jokes and Riddles and yeah, you don't see Ivy actually kill those dudes. Go figure. I guess that checks out. 

So here's the thing. I see this arc as two different things, of which I have very differing thoughts on... You can see this arc as being a make good for the very vocal subset of Poison Ivy fans on twitter who seem to never be happy and from what I understand, aren't ever given any reason to be. I don't know. Regardless, this arc barely seems to fit as anything else, and it just kind of sticks out. On the otherhand, the last page basically makes this whole arc a backdoor pilot for Sanctuary coming out of Tom King  (and probably his Vision counterpart, Gabriel Walta) which I'm down for. So on one hand... kinda unnecessary feeling on the other hand, cool way to introduce a concept by barely introducing it.

Art is gorgeous as ever, but to be fair, I have to critique when there's stuff to critique, and I think Harley's eyes just didn't match up with the emotions on hand when she was meeting with Ivy. Just wide and beady. Didn't seem convey any sympathy. Other than that, Mikel Janin sure can draw, surprise surprise!


  1. I've been mostly loving Tom King's Batman stuff, but for the reasons you mentioned this wasn't great. The idea that everyone has to act like she was never a villain is ridiculous, and for all that those fans on Twitter say it's sexist to portray her as villainous, it seems far more sexist to act like everything a woman does is the fault of a man and she's never responsible for her own actions. She's done a lot of horrible stuff over the years, it's silly to handwave it all just to appease some whiners.

  2. This arc wasn't one of King's strongest. I felt like it was a lot of damage control to appease crazy Ivy fans.

    But the artwork was good and Ivy/Harley moments are adorable, so it wasn't BAD, just kind of plain.

    I'm sure it'll pick up with the wedding arc.

  3. Such an interesting story. Definitely there's a ton of meta here but I don't think it's as simple as appeasing a few obsessives. At its heart this is a story about how damaged people lash out at the world, and how violence isn't always the most effective way of responding.

    And if you think about it, isn't that a metaphor for the whole uber-obsessive "Poison Ivy must be portrayed one way and one way only and if you don't then you hate women and are a terrible person" thing? In the story, Ivy taking over the world looks like an act of aggression, and it is, but it's also about something else - Ivy being damaged and responding by trying to control things - make them "better". It's an apt metaphor for people who are constantly in screaming matches about the portrayal of a fictional character - it can't *really* be about that, because that would be absurd. In the story it's pointless to fight with Ivy because there's no way for Batman to win. IRL it's pointless to argue with the.. what can I call them that doesn't sound derogatory... Ivy People?.. because again, there's no way to "win" - it's a fight over something made up. Batman chooses instead to look past the aggression, see the hurt, and try to help. Not sure exactly how that translates to the Ivy People IRL but it seems like a more productive response than engaging with the vitriol. I dunno.. it's thoughtful.

    Obviously the continuity etc doesn't line up with the number of times Ivy has casually killed people over the years, including in her own miniseries, but I don't think that's really the point of the story.

  4. umm so is it wrong for Batman to have female villains or something? They are turning all his female rogues good. Wack!