Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #4 Review and *SPOILERS*
A Cat, A Fern, and a Rooster Walk Into a Plant Nursery
Written By: Amy Chu
Art By: Robson Rocha, Julio Ferreira, and Ethan Van Sciver, Jay Leisten
Letters By: Janice Chiang
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: April 20, 2016
*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
We’ve passed the halfway mark of our Poison Ivy miniseries written by Amy Chu and drawn by Clay Ma—hey, wait a minute…where’s Clay Mann? You think he signed an exclusive contract with DC Comics and now they’ve got him locked in a dungeon doing KFC promotional posters for ten hours a day? I’m not saying that’s definitely what happened, I’m just saying it’s possible. Happily, we’ve got a solid squadron of pencillers to replace Clay, including the esteemed DC veteran Ethan Van Sciver. But what does this do to the story, now more than half over? Well, you’ll just have to read my review to find out! Or you could read the comic book…but you know what, my review is free, so read that.
Pamela “Poison Ivy” Isley has invited Selina “Catwoman” Kyle over to her new pad for some girl talk and probably crackers and cheese. Selina is impressed with the place, especially the guy in a pink Mohawk she’s got trussed up in vines and hanging upside down. Pamela introduces him as Darshan, one of her colleagues, who had to be restrained last issue because he caught Pam using her plant powers. After Catwoman meets and is almost devoured by Poison Ivy’s hybrid plant babies, this social call becomes business: Ivy believes her research on making plant-animal hybrid creep-outs has been stolen, and is being kept in an unused wing of the Gotham Botanical Gardens, where Pamela works, because the budget must be really tight on this book and they can only afford to build a certain number of sets. So Ivy, Catwoman, and Darshan (who is SO obviously in on this whole anti-Poison Ivy crusade at the Botanical Gardens, I mean come ON) decide to pull an Oceans Eleven and break into the secret spooky part of the Gardens and rescue a jade falcon. Or something.
Catwoman does some recon to discover that, yes, people are obviously using the unused wing at the Gotham Botanical Gardens because the lights are on and people are milling about everywhere. Of course Darshan knows a way into the super-secure area, because all Victorian buildings had steam tunnels. Which, incidentally, is bullshit. While trying to beat the last level on Gradius, an alarm goes off and people start evacuating the area. The place goes on lockdown, and that’s when Poison Ivy realizes they didn’t trip the alarm, something else that’s speaking to her through the Green did. Following the voice, they come upon some scientists that have been turned to wood, bark and all, and we readers see a sinister, shadowy figure with red-colored word balloons watching the trio over the Botanical Garden’s security cameras. They use a lot of drawn out “ess” sounds while talking, so I’m guessing it’s Cobra Commander, or at least Serpentor. Ivy and the gang keep strolling around the facility, which is far from abandoned and in fact has the same level of equipment as the actual Gardens next door, coming across more scientists made of logs and ultimately, Poison Ivy’s research. Pressing further into the place, they free Botanical Gardens’ Director of Something or Other Victor Lee, secured in a walk-in fridge, in a room with a bunch of corpses growing trees out of their faces.
Despite suffering from hypothermia, Victor still says some mean shit to Poison Ivy, then Catwoman calls her over to a vent, where a little green girl that is totally reminiscent of Newt from Aliens is huddled, looking sad despite having murdered like seven people. That’s when Ivy realizes that these scientists stole her research to make planty-human babies, which is literally the only thing they could possibly do with it, and looks around the room to see a bunch of aborted plant-person fetuses in jars stored on several shelves. Science really is so fucking gross. Ivy goes berserk and smashes up the joint, then coils some vines around Victor that snap his neck—but legally, the vines did the killing, not Poison Ivy. Before she goes the flora equivalent of nuclear, Darshan suggests they scram, so the team takes off, new plant-kid in Ivy’s arms, as the not-abandoned wing of the Botanical Gardens explodes!
I guess we’re finally circling around the plot here, we know that evil science dudes endeavored to make plant-animals, probably at the behest of Serpentor, who we only saw for the first time this issue. It’s obvious Darshan plays a role in this sinister conspiracy, but to what extend remains to be seen. I guess I’m invested enough to stick around to the conclusion. Though the book had three pencillers, I didn’t really feel like it was too jarring, though there are some panels that are better rendered than others. Frankly, I liked this art style for the story more than Mann’s, it seems much more dynamic and suited the story well. But I don’t think that justifies DC Comics putting Mann in their Artist’s Dungeon to crank out Bazooka Joe comics for half the day! Release Clay Mann now!
Bits and Pieces
There are some reveals in the story, but not many that you wouldn't have guessed already. Catwoman's patter with Ivy is cool and I liked that she referenced Harley Quinn, since they were hanging out together during a road trip last summer. I may have liked this issue a bit more than the previous one because the art was more fluid, but really it was an okay installment in a miniseries that I would call "good enough." If nothing else, it's gotten me interested in visiting my local botanical gardens later this Spring.