Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 Second Take Review and *SPOILERS*

Beginning to Bloom

Written By: Amy Chu
Art By: Clay Mann, Seth Mann, Ulises Arreola
Letters By: Janice Chiang
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 20, 2016

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Poison Ivy has made her return from the DC bench to lead in her own mini-series. One thing that has been lacking in DC comics are female-led books, and this is a fine addition to a needed quo. Now that one of DC's greatest villains is leading her own title, is it any good? The book was actually really good; the characterization of Ivy was a stand out, but the real shining spot is the art.

Pamela Isley is going straight. We open with Ivy searching in Africa for a “fossil plant” to put in her botanical research laboratory that recently hired her. After a kerfuffle with some African refugees, Ivy brings the plant back. We follow Pamela in her research facility. Then we get a visit from a class, but the best thing is that it is our Gotham Academy crew. There is not much interaction, but seeing the classmates was a great touch to further building this world. Our field trip is interrupted by Dr. Harleen Quinzel, I would imagine we would be seeing Harley, but not in the very first issue. After a nonsense bar fight (like the good old days), Ivy struggles with her humanity. The issue finishes off with Ivy finding her botanist friend dead in the lab; the cycle has now started with death.

The characterization of Poison Ivy was really good. Something that has been lacking at DC is the characterization of their female characters. In this book we see Pamela struggling with the fact that she is both human and plant, but the plant side of her overcoming the rest. She is trying to find a place in the middle where she can be both, but no one is like her so she is starting to succumb to the plant side. Which I really enjoyed that she has this problem instead of a problem that just fell out of the sky. Now she has to solve a murder and how will she be able to solve both? One of the most annoying things about DC right now is the oversaturation of Harley Quinn—so of course we would find her here—but I actually really liked the characterization of Harley. It was not over the top cartoonish or stupidly ridiculous. The argument that they had felt kind of forced, but felt appropriate. While there was not much story to pick up, I really enjoyed following Ivy.

I do not think I have seen Clay Mann's artwork before, but this was absolutely amazing. Starting with the first page with Poison Ivy I felt like I was reading a DC comic from before the New 52 (which I found to be an amazing time for DC) so it was absolutely my favorite part of this book. The characters looked great, Pamela was not hard on the eyes at all, and every other character looked great. I loved the way Harley Quinn was drawn, it made her look stunning. Even the Gotham Academy students looked really great. One thing I noticed about the art was some panels did not have any backgrounds, and though I do not think this took away from the story telling, I found it a little off. The colors in this book were great and made the pages come to life. Very vibrant choices and I think they were the right choices.

Bits and Pieces

Poison Ivy had a great first issue that had not much set up for what's to come, but had plenty of characterization of who Pamela is and how she feels about the world moving forward. We had some great cameos that were frosting on a cake that I ate up right away. The art is the best part of this book: Clay Mann can draw some ladies and all of his characters were really well-drawn and realistic instead of just background scenery. This was a good start and I hope the book picks up quick in the next issue.


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