Poison Ivy #9
Ivy attempted genocide using the hallucinogenic lamia fungus that has colonized her body after breaking things off with her girlfriend, Harley Quinn. After almost dying, eating her old boss (Floronic Man), and gaining a new and more hopeful outlook on humanity, Ivy decides to make good and only go after the people who deserve it. When going after a girlboss biofuel capitalist, Ivy crossed paths with Janet: a woman she had mercy on while destroying a different chemical plant. After Janet confronts Ivy with all of the damage she has caused her - specifically to her health, Ivy saves her life by calling in medical favors in the hopes of becoming a better person and making amends.
Valentine’s Day has come a week early to DC, it seems.
After the emotional devastation wreaked by Poison Ivy’s first eight issues, Harley Quinn’s arrival provides a much-needed breather. Harley and Ivy’s reunion – also the reunion of writer G. Willow Wilson with the series’ main artist Marcio Takara – is like an anime “beach episode” of sorts: a one-off story that’s character-forward, plot-lite, and low on conflict. The biggest difference between Poison Ivy #9 and the “beach episode” genre is the absence of a beach, with Ivy instead taking Harley around her new home city of Seattle (while Harley gets high).
It’s a poignant, funny, and hopeful interlude filled with gorgeous and often delirious art by Marcio Takara and colorist Arif Prianto. The series’ variant covers finally move beyond endless pinups, instead featuring a series of wonderful Harley and Ivy reunions by artists like Sweeney Boo and Dan Mora. It’s surreal to see this series so full of joy and hope, but it’s also a welcome change.
The emotional shift is in great part due to Harley, with Wilson’s writing highlighting Harley’s seemingly boundless optimism and compassion, helping Ivy to see the world and herself in a kinder light as they mend their damaged relationship. This is a jarring contrast to the more worldly Janet, Ivy’s now-housemate/companion/second girlfriend(?) who confronted Ivy in Poison Ivy #8 with the extent of the suffering she had caused in the name of the greater good. The two aren’t exact opposites (and both act as an external conscience for Ivy) and contrasted by one another offer fertile ground for the series to explore all of the Ivy still has left to grow.
The tradeoff for this slow and introspective intermission is a loss of momentum that isn’t regained by the conclusion.
In superhero comics, the cliffhanger may be king, but Poison Ivy #9 is metaphorically monarch-less. As the fog of love clears, Poison Ivy’s creators can only hope readers are still besotted enough to come back next month.
Poison Ivy #9 is a meditative interlude that begs readers to embrace every gay and hopeful moment for however long it lasts.
Poison Ivy #9: Happy Valentine’s Gay
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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