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

ivyIvy battles the transformed Dr. Grimely who has designs on Ivy’s new family in the thrilling conclusion to Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #6.


Bouquet of spoilers below…


Ivy is in the grip of a giant thorny plant-y creature that used to be Dr. Grimley. Apparently, the ex-old doc used Ivy’s research in sporeling technology to create a stem cell serum to beat his stage four cancer. One of the uncomfortable side effects was that he outgrew his old body and became a kind of tree beast.


At first the treatments healed him and made him feel younger. As time went on he realized that he was turning into something unexpected. When Dr. Liusa Cruz, Ivy’s friend, began poking into some financial irregularities, Grimely was forced to poison her with yew berries. As she was dying, Grimely stole Ivy’s research to make more of the serum.


However, even in his new form, his cancer had returned. He needs the sporelings for their stem cells as a cure for his malady.


With Ivy in trouble, Darshan shows up with the three sporelings to save her from Grimely’s grip. Rose tries to use her mind control spray and Thorn tries to turn Grimely into wood but to no avail. Ivy attacks him with vines but that doesn’t work either. Darshan distracts the monster and his parkour skills help him evade death.


Suddenly, from out of a planter, a figure emerges. It is Swamp Thing! Swamp Thing punches a hole through Grimely’s chest and the fiend drops down motionless. Alarmingly, the fiend drops down motionless right on top of Darshan. Luckily he is able to squeeze his way through Grimely’s oozy chest. Ivy introduces Darhsan to Alec Holland, AKA Swamp Thing.


Grimely isn’t quite as dead as they all hoped however and he rises and grabs Rose. Thorn releases all of her ample anger into a series of sword chop to save her sister. Once Rose is released they chop Grimely up into several pieces and dump some of them into the river and decide to burn the rest.


Darshan takes the girls downstairs as Ivy thanks Swamp Thing, who disappears back into the planter. As she goes back downstairs she calls Harley Quinn to say hello, it has been a long time since they spoke last. While on the phone, Ivy notices that Darshan and the girls are gone.


Darshan and the Sporelings are in the Gotham Bus Terminal. The girls get onto a bus heading south and intend to change the world. THE END


Writer Amy Chu has delivered a terrific six issue mini centered around the often misused and misunderstood Poison Ivy. The character of Ivy in these issues has been expertly drawn. Ivy does not disrespect human life, she respects all life equally: humans, animals and plants. Because of this alternate morality, Ivy can be seen as a villain, but Chu is careful to flesh her out to be heroic in her own way. Even the mystery and conclusion was given ample space to play itself out.


The most satisfying part of this issue was the way the sporelings came together to save Ivy and each other. There is a real sense of sisterhood which the male heroes support but don’t overshadow. It is not the great green elemental, Swamp Thing, that defeats Grimely. The final victory belongs to Thorn who is protecting her sister.


This issue’s pencils were by Al Barrionuevo and Cliff Richards and Inks were by Sandu Florea, Scott Hanna and Cliff Richards. Colors are by Ulises Arreola. The art across these issues has been hit and miss and #6 is no exception. The big page art looks better than some of the smaller panels. There are several dramatic depictions of Grimely holding Ivy, Grimely holding Rose, and Swamp Thing punching Grimely. It is hard to make out exactly what kind of plant matter Grimely is made of, but it works in the end.


I have completely enjoyed this miniseries, so am going to give it high marks. It only misses a top score because of the inconsistent art, but even so I strongly recommend these books. I only hope that, with the ending left open, that we see more of Ivy and her Sporelings soon.


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  • Ian Miller

    Excellent review, Gerry! I’m really curious – you’ve been handling the “Gotham City Sirens” books recently on the site – what are your thoughts on how Catwoman and Poison Ivy were handled compared to each other in these last days of the new 52? Does the Poison Ivy book seem to connect to anything else that was going on in the DC universe?

  • Gerry Green

    Thanks Ian. This Poison Ivy book was separate from events going on in the universe, though Harley Quinn, Catwoman and the Gotham Academy kids all had cameos in the mini.

    In terms of the treatment of non-Harley sirens, this book succeeded not only as an interesting story but also as character development for Ivy. For Catwoman, both the Valentine and Tieri runs were successful from my point of view. The mafia storyline of the Valentine arc wasn’t my particular cup of tea, but it was a quality book. The Tieri stories were also good though the Faceless Mask arc started and stopped rather abruptly, most likely due to running up against Rebirth.

    DC could really make some hay off the Sirens with what could might be the upcoming Harley movie juggernaut. Harley will likely be front and center, but the more Selina and Ivy are developed as characters the stronger a Sirens franchise could be. Hopefully DC is seeing this and we can look forward to more, interesting stories with Ivy and Selina.

  • Do you think the sporelings will get their own story line?

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