Poison Ivy #12
Before leaving Seattle, Janet convinced Pam/Ivy it was time to go on a wellness retreat first. Everything turned sour when wellness guru Gwendolyn Caltrope (who is tooootally not Gwenyth Paltrow) gave everyone green mushroom juice. Little did she know it was laced with wild lamia! Things went from bad to worse when Ivy took the opportunity offered to her to possess the resort attendees and interfere with the operations of a nearby oil refinery. After regretting her decision, saving everyone, and starting to feel more sympathy for Gwendolyn and her devotees, things took a turn for the worse once again when Gwendolyn turned into a big fungus monster. Gotham will have to wait.
In the newest issue of Poison Ivy, Ivy once again faces the consequences of her actions after a well-meaning wellness guru turns into a gunky fungus monster, courtesy of a wild strain of the parasitic fungus Ivy was previously using to destroy humanity. While Ivy is turning over a new leaf (and not for the first time), G. Willow Wilson’s writing reminds us that change and growth take time: being a better person requires constant effort and responsibility for past actions. It isn’t a one-time decision. In the words of another G. Willow Wilson character, Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, “Good is not a thing you are. It’s a thing you do.”
While COVID-19 may not exist in the DC universe, Poison Ivy nonetheless asks its readers to consider anti-vax rhetoric and our responsibility for one another through (an inexact but impossible to miss) metaphor. While Jessica Fong’s gorgeous and playful cover seems to promise Ivy terrorizing a beauty influencer and surrounded by a zombified film crew, this snapshot doesn’t relate to the issue’s contents. Instead, the brunt of the issue focuses on Ivy’s struggle to save the wellness retreat attendees, all of whom have become infected with the fungus – including Ivy’s love-smitten quasi-girlfriend Janet. Given the real-world COVID-19 pandemic, it’s inevitable that any story focusing on an outbreak has COVID undertones. Incorporating current events or pop culture has the potential to make a piece of media feel dated in the long run, but Poison Ivy feels all the more bold and vital for taking the risk.
Marcio Takara’s artwork continues to put the “dead” in “drop dead gorgeous,” combining beauty and ecstasy with grotesquery, muck, and mortality. Colorist Arif Prianto’s occasional use of photorealistic textures in backgrounds is mildly jarring, but his color choices – juxtaposing organic tones and neons – make the contrasts in Takara’s work all the more magnetic.
Issue after issue, Poison Ivy continues to be a near perfect marriage of style and substance. Poison Ivy #12 is no exception.
Poison Ivy #12: Well, Well, Well, If It Isn’t The Consequences of My Own Actions
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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