Overview: In the first six issues of G. Willow Wilson’s run on Poison Ivy, making up volume 1, we follow Ivy on a cross-country trip to end the human race.
Editor’s Note: This collected edition includes the first six issues of Poison Ivy, first released as a miniseries with a planned six issues before being extended to a maxiseries and eventually an ongoing series. Poison Ivy Volume 1 includes issues #1-6, which had its first issue released in June 2022 and the sixth issue released in November 2022. This review focuses on the story as a whole rather than the individual issues that made up the collection.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): Poison Ivy Volume 1 starts with Ivy beginning her narration on her justification for her new plan to give the earth back to the plants. Ivy seems broken. She meets two farmers checking on their cows. She explains to the men that the cows are eating a parasitic mushroom. A mushroom that Ivy herself is spreading. She spreads this to both men, killing them almost immediately.
Back on the road, she continues her narration, letting us know she must stay ahead of the Bat-Family and the Green Man, both of who are bound to show up at some point to foil her plan. She must spread as much of the lamia mushroom as quickly as possible because only her healing powers are keeping lamia from killing her as well. Eventually, she will be unable to keep up.
We cut to who she is narrating to: Harley Quinn is sitting on a bed crying. They argue about Harley helping to take Ivy’s supercharged powers away to save her life. Ivy regrets not being able to understand at the time.
Back in the present time, two landscapers do not know how to take a hint as Ivy exits a roadside bar. She not only murders the deserving men, but she tortures them first.
Ivy continues her narration to Harley, justifying why all humans must die. She isn’t wrong; we are an invasive species.
As Poison Ivy Volume 1 continues, Ivy is eating at a diner. She is complaining about agave farming and vegans. She shows us a brutal murder she committed at an agave farm – she is not a vegetarian.
As she eats, she spreads the mushroom spores telling them to wait to activate. Let these travelers at the roadside diner spread them to their next destination, then release them. While she infects all these people, she has a wonderful conversation with a poet who is weirdly looking to get a symbol of the Green Man tattooed on her.
Interesting turns to bad as the police show up looking for this poet and find Ivy. More torture, more death. She has spread more spores, but the Green Man has gotten closer.
Ivy made a lot of noise at the diner. She finds a small motel in the middle of nowhere. A good place to hang low and make a little money for the rest of the journey.
Ivy finds herself in a perfect little situation. She found a garden in need and a friend. Things look up for a moment or two. After a long day of work, Ivy is attacked in her hotel room. She fights back, at first believing that it is Jason, the Green Man. She continues to fight, then goes. Just yard waste from the day’s work. Not sure if it was real or if the lamia spores are slowly killing her as well, but Ivy doesn’t wait to find out.
On to Idaho, the office of George Halloran. Ivy is being introduced to her new position as a package handler. She packages boxes going all over the world, spreading spores with every box. It also doesn’t take long for Ivy to realize her boss, Halloran, is abusive. She murders him and takes over the factory continuing to use it to spread spores.
She is relaxing, thinking of Harley, then she is attacked. This time the attacker lets it be known he was sent by the Green Man. She is able to fight him off but knows she has overstayed her welcome again.
We jump to more back story. We see the Green Man experimenting on Ivy, connecting her to the Green. Then quickly back to real-time with her driving, hallucinating Batman in the passenger seat. She starts to hallucinate between real-time and the past as she works up the energy to confront the scientist. Batman, knowing that this scientist is indeed the Green Man, tries to keep Ivy from entering.
It’s a very short time before she is confronted by the Green Man himself, Jason Woodrue. He has been waiting for her. The lamia spores are making things difficult by continuing to cause the hallucinations, but she strikes. As Batman taunts her, she jumps between times. Seemingly caught, she uses what’s killing her. She overloads the Green Man with the spores and activates them, killing him but also killing herself faster.
Suddenly she can’t feel her limbs. The Green Man created the spores; he can still control them. Ivy has a knife to her own throat.
Ivy and her hallucination of Batman begin to work together. The Green Man, in turn, threatens the life of Harley, giving her even more strength to draw from. She pulls down the roof and crushes them both. She finally hears what Batman has been telling her. She gets up and starts to consume the Green Man, the only way to kill him truly.
Ivy tries to walk it off, knowing the toxins will kill her. As a little girl asks if she is ok, she feels herself start to heal. The Green had given her another chance. Poison Ivy Volume 1 ends as Harley finishes the final letter on her way to find Ivy. Ivy gives us what her new mission will be, taking down all the companies killing the earth, claiming the time for heroes is over.
Analysis: To be honest, I took this series because I am a newer reviewer for the site and wanted to get a decent amount of content to write about. I did not think I was going to get to a comic run as enjoyable as this was. The story, at its core, is very simple, but in doing this, G. Willow Wilson allows the art to tell just as much of a story as her words do. And the art; from now on, if Marcio Takara is doing it, I am picking it up.
It isn’t really fair to say that the story is simple. I mean it in a sense that the core idea and themes of the story are right there and easy to grasp, leaving the reader able to dive right into it. Ivy has a disease that she can spread, and she wants to spread it before it kills her because humans are destroying the earth. I didn’t have to take any time believing that this is a journey Ivy would take. Immediately I was in it. I thought it was a great idea to use letters to Harley as an avenue to tell us the story, not just a narration to the reader. G. Willow Wilson was also able to throw in her opinions on the state of humans destroying the earth without being preachy or overbearing. I noticed it, but it didn’t consume the comic I was supposed to be reading for enjoyment. I think this was done splendidly.
Ivy is a Rogues Gallery character. She comes from the world of Batman. Sometimes these standalone villain runs seem to forget that. Right from the first issue, one of Ivy’s fears is the Bat-Family stopping her mission. Batman himself, though just a hallucination, shows up. Not only does he show up, but he is part of Ivy’s mind that figures out how to completely end the Green Man. She uses the manifestation of Batman to overcome her own fears and defeat her ultimate villain. By the end of this run, her view of the world and people also changes. Her mission evolves just as she does. She no longer believes that all humans should die, just the ones destroying the planet. The only thing I think that would have made the story better is an actual ending, but I am looking forward to the next volume.
The art is spectacular. Every cover showcased in the first six issues is stunning. Ivy is slowly dying from mushrooms as the story moves. The art, as each issue moves forward, shows that. When we finally get to the showdown at the end, Ivy is hallucinating, and the panels of the comic are psychedelically swirling and moving. The first six pages of the fifth issue are beautiful. The colors and contrast on each page make all the important images pop.
I was not expecting to enjoy these as much as I did. The storytelling from the beginning to the end is exciting, and the art is so much fun to follow. Bring on the next volume.
Editor’s Note: DC Comics provided TBU with copies of the original issues of this series as they were released but not of this new edition. You can find this collected edition and help support TBU in the process by purchasing this edition digitally either for Comixology through Amazon or as a physical copy in a hardcover form at Amazon or from Things from Another World.
Poison Ivy Volume 1
Strong storytelling, even stronger art. The only thing it's missing is the strong ending; that still could be coming in the future, but for now, it’s still short a good one. The story has a villain doing villain things, but with the help of Batman, she grows. This is a great example of a Rogues Gallery story. I’m ready to see where it goes next.