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Review: Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #4


ivyIvy, Selina and Darshan are on a quest to recover Ivy’s stolen research when they run into a mystery even deeper and more infuriating than they expected in Poison Ivy Cycle of Life and Death #4.

 

Sporelings spying spoilers below…

 

Ivy catches Selina up on the goings on at the lab. She also explains why Darshan is hanging upside down entangled in vines. Ivy releases Darshan but her sporelings, Hazel and Rose begin to terrorize both him and Selina.

 

The three begin to plan their entry into the abandoned building they presume has Ivy’s stolen sporeling creation research. Darshan has provided old electrical access blueprints which they will use to gain access. They make their way to the building but find that it is far from abandoned. There is a lot of activity and security in and around the structure.

 

Darshan finds a steam tunnel the trio use to get inside. Ivy hears someone calling for help through the Green. Suddenly an evacuation alarm sounds and people rush by heading for the exit. Undeterred they continue inside the building where they find a dead man with a flamethrower whose hand has been turned to wood.

 

They make their way to the security room where they find Ivy’s research. They believe that the culprit who stole Ivy’s work was Victor from the lab. Selina finds a sealed door and foils the lock. Inside the room are a number of dead scientists all in various stages of being turned into trees. Behind another door Ivy finds Victor, nearly dead himself. There is also a scared little girl who is the one that has been communicating with her through the Green hiding behind a grate.

 

On shelves around the room are jars full of failed sporeling experiments. The disregard for life enrages Ivy and she smashes the work to smithereens. She then attacks the barely conscious Victor with vines. Ivy decides to destroy the whole building.

 

Selina and Darshan, recognizing Ivy has lost her cool and is endangering them all, decide to try to reason with her. Darshan convinces Ivy that they need to get the girl to safety. As they leave the building, the still furious Ivy tears it apart with flora as they head back home. Until next month…

 

In this installment all of the groundwork done by the first three issues really begin to pay off. Writer Amy Chu has created a world that is full of danger, mystery and a large dose of humor. The ladies are front and center here but this isn’t an anti-male story by any means. Darshan is capable and helpful to Selina and Ivy although he is over matched in superheroing abilities.

 

The real standout in this issue is the development of Ivy’s character. In lesser hands Ivy can be a cold-hearted monster. Here, Ivy cares equally for human, animal and especially plant life. She will happily kill a human that hurts an animal or plant but that doesn’t mean that she hates humans, she just considers the value of all life to be equal. For those that value human life as paramount this makes her a villain but she is a deeply moral and caring character.

 

The art here is very good as well. Pencils are by Robson Rocha, Julio Ferreira and Ethan Van Sciver. Inks are by Jay Leisten and Ethan Van Sciver. Colors are by Ulises Arreola and letters by Janice Chiang. With such a large group of artists there is bound to be variations in art work, and there is. However, so much of the art is so good and done with so much humor that it can be overlooked. The first page is done from Darshan’s upside down point of view that includes a terrific panel of Selina’s face. Ivy herself is drawn beautifully in all of her statuesque glory. There is a particularly powerful panel where Ivy understands the horror of the experiments that are going on in the lab. The close up of her enraged face is very effective.

 

I am really enjoying this mini. The second issue was a bit of a drop off for me but since then the book has been getting better and better. I am going to give this issue a very high ranking mostly because I believe that Amy Chu’s characterization of Ivy is becoming very strong. I am starting to understand her character in a way I never have before. Also, for as disturbing as the story is there is a lot of humor here which I really appreciate. I’m not a fan of grimdark comics and this book strikes a fine balance. Also, Selina plays off of Ivy in a way that allows Ivy’s personality to shine. When Ivy is paired with Harley Quinn the dynamic tends to diminish Ivy but here she is allowed to…uh, flower.

 

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