COMIC REVIEW: Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #2 | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #2

By Jeff Ayers

COMIC REVIEW: Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #2

Writer: Amy Chu

Pencils: Clay Mann

Inks: Seth Mann, Jonathan Glapion, Art Thibert

Colors: Ulises Arreola


DC Comics

In chapter two of Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death, we get some more death, and a little bit of life. Poison Ivy is widely known as just another rogue from Batman’s ever growing gallery, yet this book strives to show that she is much, much more.

Ivy has been trying to turn over a new leaf, so to speak, and working on her incredible intellect when it comes to plants. Masquerading as Doctor Pamela Isley, she has a job a the Gotham Botanical Gardens, and is making some wide breakthroughs in combing animal and plant DNA. Her mentor, Doctor Luisa Cruz, was found dead at the gardens of apparent poison from deadly plants. Ivy is worried that someone might know her true identity and is framing her for murder.

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As this issue progresses, we get to see a side of Ivy we rally see in a Batman book. She is a very smart woman, and has a scientific brain, which allows her to look into this murder much that same way that the Caped Crusader might. Detective skills aside, she also wants to find vindication for her friend, and try and figure out if anyone knows who she really is. The head of the gardens, Victor Lee, is definitely hiding something, and when she pressures him for questions, he reveals that he does know she is actually Poison Ivy. Not much will come of that revelation though, because he is found dead in his office mere hours after that encounter. It looks like Ivy’s secret will be common knowledge before long.

COMIC REVIEW: Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #2

Amy Chu does an excellent job fleshing out the complex character of Poison Ivy. Throughout her internal dialogue, Ivy tries to justify her new life, and distance herself, “Beyond someone else’s idea of a hero or villain.” She is furthering her research with genetically enhanced plants, and she  seems to get along with her colleagues. Yet the old Poison Ivy, the “villain” Poison Ivy that we all know and love, is still there just underneath the surface. We saw her come out last issue when Harley Quinn shows up and the pair get into a bar fight, and we see her again in in this issue. Ivy is helping a lab assistant, Darshan Bapna, to create a community garden in the memory of her dead friend, when they are surprised by two pit bulls. Ivy points out that those type of dogs get a bad rap, because of their upbringing or environment, making the parallel to her own life. But then we witness her track down the owner of the dogs, and then blatantly murder the owner with her plant powers. Ivy might be fooling herself that she is neither hero nor villain, but actions like that tell a different story.

COMIC REVIEW: Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #2

The “Best There Is”: Poison Ivy, in just two short issues, has become much more than she has in years, thanks to a compelling story crafted by Chu. The inner turmoil that Ivy is going through is beautifully depicted through her actions, and also the crazy animal/plant hybrid babies that she is concocting in her apartment. I have a feeling that the revelation that Ivy actually just created humanoid life from plants will play into this story, and possibly other stories, for a long time. Poison Ivy has children now: this could be a bigger deal than we realize. Also, the artistic team gets to render some amazing imagery thanks to the subject matter. Poison Ivy is depicted around plant life constantly, but Clay Mann and company figure out new and inventive ways to do that. From the first page, where we see Ivy resting on a gigantic lily, it could be just artistic interpretation. But then the scene pulls back, and you realize that she has created these incredibly huge plants in her apartment, because of course she can, she is Poison Ivy. The deep greens, browns and reds that Ulises Arreola uses help to create a singular mood throughout the issue, and allows the reader to get lost within the pages.

The “Isn’t Very Nice”: For all the good that Poison Ivy is able to do in this book, I still miss one simple thing. I want to see her be the villain we all know. I think that is coming, but I do think she spends a little too much time as Doctor Isely, and not enough time as Poison Ivy. But this is only a minor gripe, because her character is being set up so perfectly by whoever is behind all these killings, that Ivy will be forced to don the green suit yet again and wreck some havoc very soon.

FBI Score: 9 out of 10. A great second issue, Poison Ivy is truly growing as a character thanks to an entertaining and complex story. There is mystery, intrigue, and some classic “Ivy” moments that lead to an incredible revelation that could have serious ramifications in DC comics for years to come.


Jeff Ayers

Both my parents instilled in me at an early age the awesome power and incredible wonder of the written word. My father sat with me when I was four years old and taught me to enjoy reading with classic comic strips like SPIDERMAN, PEANUTS, B.C. and, later, CALVIN AND HOBBES. My mother exposed me to such classics of literature as Poe, Tolkien, Stoker and Doyle, and I started my own comic collection with allowance money from mowing lawns. I liked Wolverine before it was cool, I watched as Superman died and returned, and huddled under the covers as I turned the pages of SANDMAN. Reading is like oxygen to me, and all genres and formats are welcome and devoured equally. I am the co-host of The DW and Incredible Jeff Show, CEO of Permian Productions, and a reviewer at Graphic Novel Reporter. I am 34 and live in scenic Saratoga Springs New York, where I haunt coffee shops and dive bars and the best comic shop anywhere, The Comic Depot.

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