POISON IVY: CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH #1 [Review]

poison ivy cycle of life and death 1 cvr
POISON IVY: CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH #1/ Written by AMY CHU/ Pencils by CLAY MANN/ Inks by SETH MANN/ Colors by ULISES ARREOLA/ Letters by JANICE CHIANG/ Cover by CLAY MANN & LAURA MARTIN/ Alternate Cover by TERRY DODSON & RACHEL DODSON/ Published by DC COMICS

Doctor Pamela Isley has been many things in her life. A lover. A fighter. A hero. A villain. An eco-terrorist. A scientist. An agent of The Green. A protector of The Earth. She is not easily classified in literal or figurative terms, now being a hybrid of both plant and animal life. Small wonder she’s never felt like she belonged anywhere.

Still, when the opportunity came to build something close to a normal life where her checkered past wouldn’t matter, Pamela decided to take it. Thanks to a colleague, Doctor Luisa Cruz, Pamela has been hired on at the prestigious Gotham Botanical Gardens.  Here, Palema can use her passion for plants to explore new avenues of science and find ways to use her talents (but not her powers) to help mankind.  Even if that does mean playing tour guide to the occasional group of bored students from Gotham Academy.

Still, Pamela’s past is not so easily discarded. Especially when Pamela’s long-time partner in crime and on-again/off-again lover Harley Quinn shows up wanting to know why Pammy doesn’t want to play with her anymore. She doesn’t see what was so bad about the life before that Pamela feels that she needs a second chance at building something solid.

It’s not a question Pamela can answer easily. Not even to Harley. But the new life she’s built for herself may already be in danger of shattering…

 

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Amy Chu does an excellent job of getting into Poison Ivy’s head and examining the character in a way I don’t think any writer has ever truly managed before.  The idea of Ivy being an outcast even among outcasts is hardly new but the execution is phenomenal. And exploring the dynamic between Ivy’s natural urges to nurture and create versus Harley’s inclination towards random destruction proves a unique conflict.

That being said, this story is definitely Ivy’s show and those expecting a slapstick comedy ala the usual “Harley and Ivy” Paul Dini penned story may be disappointed. There’s a bit of action and comedy as Harley starts a bar-fight but that’s part of the sideshow. The focus of the issue is on setting up the new life Pamela has made for herself and her own inner struggle with her various contrary natures.

This book is blessed with some amazing artists. Clay Mann does an excellent job of drawing an Ivy who is beautiful without indulging in gratuitous cheesecake. Nothing in the art diminishes her strength or objectifies her, even in the scenes where Ivy wanders around her apartment nude. Seth Mann inks the art sparingly, giveing the whole book a bright, vivid aura. The colors of Ulises Arreola further enhance this feeling.

Longtime Poison Ivy fans will enjoy this book as will those comic readers looking for something good that lies off the beaten path. This first issue’s story is somewhat light on action and heavy on exposition, but this is easily forgiven how well everything is assembled.  The artwork proves equally excellent. I think this is one comic that will leave readers itching for more.

Rating 5

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

3 comments on “POISON IVY: CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH #1 [Review]

  1. Thank you for the enthusiastic review, Matt! 🙂 Could someone correct the spelling of my last name on the hyperlink at the end of this article? C H I A N G. Many thanks!

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