Thursday, June 16, 2016

Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #6 Review and **SPOILERS**

Nobody Expects the Moss-Encrusted Mockery of a Man

Written By: Amy Chu
Art By: Al Barrionuevo and Cliff Richards, Sandu Florea, Scott Hanna, Ulises Arreola
Letters By: Janice Chiang
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: June 15, 2016


It is perhaps unfortunate that we base much of our criticism about a given piece of media in the way it concludes. Great works can be deflated by a disappointing ending, while poorer works can be recalled as classic if they finish in a satisfying and complete way. Then there are comic book miniseries that sort of stumble along for a bunch of issues and confuse even the most dedicated readers, when they reach their end there’s nothing but the feeling of sheer relief. No feeling of accomplishment, no understanding gleaned from the finale’s exposition, just exasperated relief that the job is done, and now we can live on without feeling encumbered. This Poison Ivy miniseries has been sort of like helping a shitty friend move than an engaging and interesting story, and I am determined to see it off. Join me, won’t you? For today is a great day: the last day I will ever write or think about this comic book.

Explain It!

It pains me to have to recount this final issue of Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death for my loyal zillions and probably quadrillions of readers, all of whom I respect to their very essences, but this was the deal I arranged with Jim when he kidnapped by wife and children—and I’m determined to get them back! If this thing went to seven issues, however, they would be totally screwed. Okay, so let’s unpack this particular comic: the beastly humanoid leaf monsters that’s been sort of showing up now and again throughout the series has Poison Ivy on the ropes, and it turns out to be none other than that wheelchair-bound, misogynist Director of Gotham City Botanical Gardens, Dr. Grimley. As he explains—yes, explains, while beating up Poison Ivy—he was about to die of cancer, so he started looking into extending his life indefinitely. He set up a super-duper botanist’s lab in the unused wing of the Botanical Gardens and fooled around with extracts from the especially long-living Yew Tree, which is almost the exact same plot to Real Genius, minus the cancer and Yew Tree and Botanical Gardens. When Dr. Pamela Isley aka so obviously Poison Ivy signed on to the team, he was able to use stem cells from her plant-animal hybrids to regrow a new beastly body, which molted out of his human one—this was the “corpse” everyone saw on the floor of his office a few issues back. Dr. Luisa Whatzername saw some irregularities in the budget, for instance a big allocation to installing a kegerator in the unused wing of the Gardens, so Grimley killed her. Everything wrapped up in a tidy package, highlighting the fact that we stopped caring about these aspects of the mystery a long time ago!

I really respect you guys, I do, which is why it pains me to tell you that the reason Grimley the plant-type Pokemon keeps harassing Poison Ivy is that he has developed cancer again and needs their supple, nubile stem cells to grow a new body. When a plant develops a cellular irregularity, can’t you just cut it out? In trees, it’s called “burl” and actually fetches a premium price on the retail market. Besides this, why can’t this perfectly lucid, humanoid plant-monster just whip up his own stupid plant-based stem cells? He already made a hybrid when he whipped up Thorn, what’s to preclude him from doing it again? The laboratory? Poison Ivy has a full mad botanist’s get-up in her Gotham City apartment that looks cobbled together from Home Depot! This whole conflict just makes absolutely no sense, and it’s tough to feel sympathy for Poison Ivy when she’s been a right bitch this entire time. Still, her buddy Darshan shows up with Ivy’s three daughters to save the day! And by save the day, I mean they prove totally ineffectual against Grimley, because he bats everyone away with relative ease while groaning, “NEED SPORRELINGS’ CELLSSSS.” Indeed, Dr. Grimley seems to have lost several IQ points in the last few pages, since he seemed thoroughly coherent and intelligent when recounting his origin. Just when all hope is lost, the Swamp Thing shows up, really driving home the middle finger that this comic series presents to the reader.

Swamp Thing punches a hole in Grimley’s chest, chastises Poison Ivy for not being a good plant avatar, then Grimley wakes up and grabs one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Fern Girls, only then to be chopped into salad by a machete-wielding Thorn, the girl that Grimley created in his lab—but look: it’s really a fucked up thing to introduce the hero of a story at its very end. Sure, Pamela mentioned Alec Holland two or three issues ago, and she traipsed around in the Green for a minute (much to my chagrin), but to just throw Swamp Thing in there like some deus ex machina is lame, and sucked all of what little interest I’d saved for this miniseries right out of me. Poison Ivy gives her old pal Harley Quinn a call, implying that she is re-establishing her connection to the flesh-based world, and Darshan hurries her plant ladies to the bus station where he helps them board a bus to Washington, DC—for future adventures, I suppose, that I hope to god will never be written. I feel nothing for these characters and Poison Ivy’s journey to redemption can be summed up with, “Well, at least there’s always Swamp Thing.”

Bits and Pieces:

This series ended with a cameo appearance by a character that was immediately much more interesting than Poison Ivy, and thusly stole whatever thunder she might have mustered. I hope this miniseries will be quietly resigned to the back issue bins of our collective memory, only spoken of in hushed tones among confidantes, but we know that some idiot is going to dredge up Poison Ivy's plant-animal babies, or her rooster-combed coworker Darshan, or some other stupid part of this lackluster miniseries and write about it like they've rediscovered Bat-Mite or something, and then other dopes will surge to the internet to inform the creative team that they are writing it incorrectly because Hazel has a lisp and a double-jointed pinky or some such nonsense. Don't buy into it, dear reader. We were there; we read every issue of Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death. And we can definitively say that the concepts in this comic book miniseries are worth neither reviving nor arguing about. Let us walk the cocky walk of the self-righteous and move on.


1 comment:

  1. Christ this issue was bad. I wasn't even a hater of this miniseries for the most part but those last two issues are bad by ALL standards. It definitely feels like they were trying to capture the popularity of the Harley Quinn series, without any of the fun that attracts those readers. Thank god it's over.