The benefit of serial stories is they can develop, change and grow over time. If something isn’t quite working you can figure it out and redirect. Though the first few issues of Poison Ivy weren’t bad in some ways I don’t think it knew what it wanted to be yet. Until now. I take a look at issue #3 and answer the question: is it good?
Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #3 (DC Comics)
Last issue Poison Ivy showed a bit more of her dark side; she attacked (and maybe even killed) an old lady who was mistreating her dogs, did some bad things at her workplace, and ended the issue with a very creepy reveal of her human plant/baby hybrid creations. Things are getting dark fast!
Why does this book matter?
Poison Ivy has gone from hero, to villain, to reluctant hero and back again so many times and needless to say that makes for a potentially complex character. Writer Amy Chu has developed quite an interesting relationship between Ivy and her coworker Darshan. He refuses to eat any living thing which immediately made Ivy interested, but there are the seeds of a possible romantic connection there too. Too bad there are a lot of bad things going on right now.
Ain’t they precious.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
These plant/human hybrids have made this comic next level creepy. With their drooling mouths and dead eyes you’d think Poison Ivy would be afraid of them, but instead loves them dearly. They can’t be good for her or anyone, but she loves them dammit. Chu does a fantastic job establishing Poison Ivy’s mothering nature and her undying need to keep them safe. Meanwhile detectives are snooping around and endangering not only her work but her baby secret. That makes for high stakes for her and a lot of balls moving around in the air.
Love those legs.
One of those balls is Darshan, who innocently wants to connect with Poison Ivy. Chu writes one sequence between them that shows off the awkwardness Poison Ivy is feeling. Clearly she’s not used to feeling like this with someone let alone a human. It’s fun to see her squirm and you’ll want to see where it’s going, especially when you consider he may not quite agree with her policy on killing anyone who gets too close to her.
There’s also a danger looming over Poison Ivy even she’s not aware of. I don’t want to spoil it, but damn is there a frightening full page spread of something she doesn’t see but the babies do. This page is quite good and overall Clay Mann does a fantastic job on pencils. The babies are impressive sights, which is a tricky thing in itself, but they’re also exhibiting a level of creepiness that just adds to the complexity. At the same time his art continues to capture the talking head bits well. I rather like how he’s drawn Ivy’s villain costume with a viney henna style crawling up her arms and legs. Oh and another super villain heroine makes an appearance near the end that looks drop dead gorgeous.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There are three awkwardly drawn pages though, which take place when Poison Ivy is asked questions by some detectives. At one point her eyes aren’t looking straight, overall her breasts look off in the green tank top and in a tense full page spread moment she looks incredibly silly in her pose. It took me out of the book and may be due to the art being shared by Mann and Stephen Segovia. That said it was a brief scene and the comic continued on well.
Is It Good?
Haunting, exciting and filled with surprises this is a Poison Ivy story you can’t miss.