Thursday, October 30, 2014

Detective Comics by John Layman issue #14

Poison Ivy had always been my go-to evil enchantress for as long as I could remember growing up, and I thought there was something clever and symbolic with how she was represented. She was Mother Nature in her vengeful, vicious colors, all twisted steel and sex appeal. The Biblical Eve who led a man to downfall can also be applied to her. Considered as an ecoterrorist, I think her character is more attuned to our times now more than ever, and I'm glad she's being portrayed as a formidable villainess again. I'm aware that she joined Birds of Prey but was kicked out of it because that's just how Ivy rolls, and it's far better to see her committing misguided deeds of ecoterrorism because she's more interesting as a baddie than as a reformed one.
This issue entitled Unnatural Selection plays up Poison Ivy in her most traditional villainy. It's been a while since I saw Ivy kiss her victims to submission or death, and we got plenty of that deadly-lip action here. Smooching you to be her obedient bitch is her most recognizable signature move and it pleases me to no end that Layman incorporated that immensely; especially the amusing yet impressive way Batman countered that toxic manipulation in a way only shrewd Batsy can come up with. Fabok has also drawn her so damn slick in the story; all those vines wrapped around her as she dons this black tightsuit with well-placed greenery on her body--she looked just honest-to-Lokiness enticing. But she wasn't just there to look good.
Poison Ivy has a plan in place (which we also get in the backup story later on in this issue) and it includes a shakedown of those pesky polluting factories in Gotham, including firstly the one owned by no other than Oswald Cobblepot. I like that it still ties to the major Penguin plot that Layman is carefully crafting. After all, the opening scenes started with the continuation of the cliffhanger from the previous issue, and Penguin has never been more delightfully irritating when he found a way to turn something seriously harmful to his advantage to elevate his newfound status as Gotham's new darling. It reminded me of Tim Burton's movie with Danny DeVito. I'm really enjoying Penguin's role so far, and that Oglivy henchman of his is somewhat a shady character of his own right, isn't he?
Everything ties back nicely together once you get to the end of the story, and it had provided enough sensational action, gadgetry and sparkling dialogue exchange between Batsy and Ivy which made it such an easy task for readers to just sit back and enjoy what was offered. My only nitpick for the issue is the references to other ongoing titles' event, particularly with Death of the Family which would be jarring only to a reader who is solely reading Detective Comics (if you are, then you better pick up Snyder and Tomasi while you're at it). Other than that, this has a good narrative flow. The backup story that expands what Ivy has been up to was pretty great too, and once again illustrated by Andy Clarke. It's important to note that the events that Layman's Detective Comics are operating on is during the Joker's return, so Ivy breaking into Arkham to take away a particular patient there might be considered pre-Joker takeover in Snyder's Batman issue #14 whose moments do get mentions here and the next one which is Layman's tie-in contribution. Let's get to that now, shall we? Overall, another strong installment!

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