Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #3 Review and *SPOILERS*

Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Wilted

Written By: Amy Chu
Art By: Clay Mann, Stephen Segovia, Seth Mann, Jonathan Glapion, Dexter Vines, Art Thibert, Ulises Arreola
Letters By: Janice Chiang
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 16, 2016

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Do you think plants ever plot revenge? Like, if you are a really shitty houseplant-owner, and only half-assedly water your spider plant so that it teeters between life and mulch, the tips of its slender leaves a perpetual paper bag brown, do you think it dreams of slithering its tendrils around your neck and choking the goddamned life out of you? I like to think flora is not that petty. If plants really wanted revenge on people, it would fairly well be over in about sixty seconds. And don’t give me that mess about them “needing us” to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen, there are plenty of other mammals on the planet with whom ferns have no problem. And we’ve left such a carbon stink in the air, the superweeds that inherit the Earth will be munching on it for centuries. So plants probably aren’t out to kill us at the moment, though maybe you should be a little more respectful and water them more often anyway. And while you’re at it, read my review of Poison Ivy #3. Maybe they’ll think you’re trying to empathize.

Explain It!:

We dive back into the mystery of Why Is Everyone at Gotham Botanical Gardens Dying with Detectives O’Shea and Manning (who must be working the city parks beat) investigating the desiccated corpse of Dr. Eric Grimley, one-time Head Misogynist at the Botanical Gardens. Being that this is the second corpse jerky to show up in the last couple of days, the detectives decide to actually do some police work and informally interrogate Darshan, the guy with a haircut like a rooster who discovered both bodies. But they don’t take him to the station, or advise him of his rights, no they just have an informal discussion in the hallway where Darshan informs the cops that he heard a noise in Dr. Grimley’s office, and when he opened the door someone…or something whooshed out. That seems to sit just fine with the detectives, who recently won an award for Worst Fucking Cops in the History of Municipal Police at a gala event for the Police Benevolence Association.

Back at her loft in Canal Point, Dr. Pamela “Poison Ivy” Isley is hanging with her new plant-human hybrid babies that she cracked out of a couple of cabbages last issue. She muses in her usual goth-talk but now has a weird, colored speech bubble that indicates she’s got plant-voice or something. Pamela notes that her two tots are developing rather quickly, since this is only a six-issue miniseries after all, and each has a distinct trait: one is adept at talking to leafy things while the other is skilled at growing them. I think we can essentially say that both babies are good with plants. They start crying, so Pamela decides to get the hell out of there and stuffs them in some giant flowers. I hear ya, sister, many is the time I’ve wished I could shove a crying baby into a giant flower or some kind of pneumatic chute to nowhere. In fact, I think it’s a service that should be provided by movie theaters and houses of worship. Over at the Gotham Gardens, Pamela discovers the crime scene and insists on getting to her lab to investigate her stolen research. Darshan is incredulous but Isley strolls right over to Detectives Dumb and Dumber and demands that they let her pass. They begin to inconvenience her slightly and Pamela goes into a murderous reverie, thinking of how easy it would be to turn these chumps into plant food, when a call comes over the radio from the Chief that Dr. Isley is not to be detained. Everyone, including Pamela, is surprised at this turn of events, but she plays it cool and strolls away in her super stiff model pose. As the two detectives check out Pamela’s butt, O’Shea notes how site director Victor Lee seems suspicious because he didn’t seem to broken up over Dr. Grimley’s dehydration, and it’s a good thing because he only shows up in a clustered panel two pages back and I’d already forgotten he existed.

Arriving back at home, Pamela sees her place looks a wreck! She calls out to her babies—Hazel and Rose, incidentally—and they’re doing fine all nestled into some busted up orchids or something. As she cuddles them to her bosom, Pamela senses a disturbance in the Green, which is like the Force but for people with leaf powers. Just then we see a shadowed beast monster all hovering over Isley and her babes, but when she turns around it is gone. Then, her doorbell rings: it’s Winston, a creepy guy from work who got Pamela off the hook last issue by claiming they were fucking while Dr. Luisa Cruz died. Pamela ascertains that he’s alone, and then invites him up and murders him in order to fulfill her quota for the issue. The cool part is that she besets a bunch of ravenous venus fly traps on him like a pack of wild dogs. Then her doorbell rings again: it’s Darshan. Pamela wisely decides they should meet at a restaurant down the block. Darshan’s got a bunch of old blueprints of the Botanical Gardens that might highlight a weak spot where they can break in. They notice that an old, unused wing of the Gardens has an awful lot of security, and of course that’s exactly where Pamela wants to go. But first, they need to enlist the help of an old roommate: Catwoman!

So this issue had some decent story development, with a lot of incidental things that just didn’t sit right. Like the detectives, who don’t even know the phony police procedure you see on Law & Order. Or the fact that Pamela killed Winston for being a douchebag. He was a douchebag, but couldn’t she just give him foot fungus or something? And the whole thing with her creepy babies is just creepy. I am still interested in where this story is going, but frankly if it wasn’t a miniseries I’d probably drop it here. And the art is…inconsistent. Not surprising, considering the battalion of pencilers and inkers on the thing, but it vacillates between really nice renderings and then some postures and anatomy that are good enough for a high school yearbook. I hope next issue is mind-blower, because my faith in this book is starting to wane.

Bits and Pieces

Another day, another dead doctor at the Gotham Botanical Gardens, and it seems like the culprit might be some whooshing werewolf thing, or maybe the guy with the rooster hair, or possibly the dude that runs the whole facility that I almost forgot about. Pamela’s plant babies are gross but her parenting skills are top notch. The art in this book is top notch in some places, and somewhat unfortunate in others. This much-heralded book seems to be going down the tubes.


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