In today’s issue of Poison Ivy, Ivy wakes up in a world where everything is colored in bright pastels. She’s in a neatly manicured neighborhood where all the Batman heroes and villains live in harmony together. She and Harley own a nice house in this neighborhood. Their neighbors are Batman and Selina Kyle, who are their best friends and who laugh at all of Harley’s stories.
And Ivy hates every bit of this. She hates the bright colors, the conformity, and the freshly cut lawns on which she knows people use pesticide. She hates having lunch with her worst enemy of all time (Batman). Ivy’s not living in her fantasy life; she’s living in Harley’s. Harley’s perfect world is Ivy’s nightmare. Throughout the story, however, Ivy slowly loses her free will and her mind, based on the simple thought – “I need to make Harley happy.”
What I’ve Been Saying the Entire Time…
What G. Willow Wilson is doing here is she’s using the Knight Terrors event to explore the real conflict in Ivy. In the real world, Ivy desperately wants to get her relationship with Harley to work. She has to agree with where Harley wants to live and with whom she considers to be her friends. Those things directly contradict what Ivy’s desires and goals are, however. Ivy’s relationship with Harley is essentially taking away Ivy’s autonomy…
….and that’s exactly what I’ve been saying for years! I’m so glad to finally get an issue that doesn’t treat Harley and Ivy’s relationship as a sunshine and rainbows fantasy. It’s portrayed as an actual relationship with real flaws. And who is there to disrupt this sick dream world that Harley and Ivy are living in? It’s Janet, and this represents how, in the real world, Janet might be the one to pull apart the Harley and Ivy relationship. That’s not just because Janet is rival love interest, but because Janet is willing to follow Ivy wherever she goes rather than pull Ivy in a direction she doesn’t want.
It All Comes Together
The artwork by Atagun Ilhan with colors by Arif Prianto create a great Alice and Wonderland look and feel to this weird fever dream of a book. The horrifyingly, overly happy expressions most everyone in the book eventually gets are also very well done. Ultimately, what I’m really glad about is how Wilson has used the Knight Terrors event to continue Ivy’s story rather than to interrupt it. This is a great way to delve into Ivy’s psyche and get her to eventually confront her fears.
In addition to her understanding of Ivy as a character, I will say that Wilson also has a decent voice for Harley as well, in a day and age that few people seem to get her right. She’s got the sound of Harley’s voice correct, but Wilson also seems to understand Harley’s strong desire to have people validate and accept her. We see that in the neighborhood where all the Batman characters get along, in Ivy’s gradual seduction to do everything to please Harley, and in Selina and Batman conveniently thinking that Harley is always funny and entertaining.
- You wanted to see some actual flaws introduced within the Harley and Ivy relationship.
- Trippy, weird, but well-written comics are your thing.
- Delving into Ivy’s psyche is interesting to you.
What can I say? This is an all around great comic. It shows an understanding of the characters it’s working with and sets up an interesting conflict to be resolved in the future. It even addresses some of the criticisms I’ve long had with these characters! I’ve given a lot of bad reviews to comics in my time at Batman News, and that’s because I feel most comics that come out these days truly aren’t good. Poison Ivy, however, is the one comic book series I would say is worth checking out!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.