Pamela Isley has returned to academic life, thanks to her former mentor, Luisa Cruz. But now, Doctor Cruz has been murdered in their lab, and it’s time for Poison Ivy to get involved… Your Major Spoilers review of Poison Ivy: Cycle Of Life And Death #2 awaits!
POISON IVY: CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH #2
Writer: Amy Chu
Penciler: Clay Mann
Inker: Seth Mann, Jonathan Glapion and Art Thibert
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Poison Ivy: Cycle Of Life And Death: After years in the DC Universe (most of it in Batman’s Rogues Gallery), Poison Ivy has graduated to a solo series of her own. Having successfully created plant/animal hybrid creatures, Ivy has returned to the halls of the Gotham Botanical Gardens to learn more in the hopes of improving her work even more.
Then, her friend and mentor is murdered…
IVY AS DETECTIVE
This issue opens with a crime scene, as the GCPD investigates Doctor Cruz’ death, with one of the cops weirdly certain that it might be a homicide. (Given that it’s Gotham City, and the Joker probably killed a herd of people a block away during the time it took him to investigate, you kind of can’t blame the guy.) Ivy’s cover is almost blown, but one of her fellow scientists fakes an alibi for her (while also implying that he’s “doing” her, which will certainly come back to bite him in the buttocks. Ivy takes on the role of investigator for the middle part of this issue, interviewing her fellow scientists for possible motives. Weirdly, the followup to her friend’s murder actually involves Ivy killing a woman herself (though the woman was seemingly abusive to her dogs, which does fit her who M.O.) as well as being blackmailed by the director of the Botanical Gardens, who has discovered her second identity…
A COMPLICATED CHARACTER
When I reviewed issue #1 of this series for the M.S.P. (that’s the Major Spoilers Podcast for new Spoilerites, you should check it out, it’s a fun show!), I found it hard to get a feeling for the main character, and that feeling continues this issue. The plot feels more coherent this time around, and the secondary characters get more time and more to do, but Ivy herself continues to be an enigma. As the issue ends, she has delivered a pair of plant hybrid babies, as well as discussing how she wants to have children of her own, but largely spends the issue dismissive of Gotham City and the humans who inhabit it, as well as the whole “killing some stranger for unknown reasons” thing. Clay Mann and company do interesting work on the art, with cool character designs (and a mostly nice revision of Ivy’s “costume”) and engaging layouts for an issue that’s almost all talk.
THE BOTTOM LINE: STILL NOT QUITE GETTING THERE
All in all, I get where this story is trying to go, keeping Poison Ivy as an inhuman presence while putting her at the center of the story, but the balance (while improved over #1) isn’t quite right here. Poison Ivy: Cycle Of Life And Death #2 has some interesting moments in it, some good character work and interesting art, but I still can’t quite get a handle on the Poison Ivy character here, leaving the book with a still-better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall.