Sunday, November 2, 2014

Detective Comics [Poison Ivy] by Derek Fridolfs #23.1

Villains Months marks the official re-telling of the origin stories of the baddies of DC. Several months back in my first wave of Batman comics diet, I read and reviewed Peter J. Tomasi's villain issues for Two Face, the Talons, Clayface and Ra's Al Ghul and they were all great especially Two-Face's which was an absolute favorite! I was really surprised to see that Layman didn't write the four villain installments themselves for his title. In any case, I thought Fridolfs did a remarkable piece with his take on Poison Ivy's origins. The artwork by Javier Pina stood out for me well enough especially his illustrations of the hellish jungle that Poison Ivy turned Gotham into being.

Absurdly enough, a Villains Month issue seems to have a standard formula which is composed of a villain walking around the city about to fall into ruins (or already in ruins) as he or she reminisces the past (several flashbacks detailing their cruel beginnings which led them to life of crime and chaos). This worked for Tomasi's Two Face tremendously well, and he delightfully subverted it with his Ra's Al Ghul issue. As for Poison Ivy: I was just okay with it. There was nothing to it that felt like a disservice to the character, but there was also hardly anything I connected with. Still, the entire issue was enjoyable because Pamela Isley was contemplative and consistent in her tale of woe. I didn't like her less when I read this which I felt the need to point out only because I also didn't like her more after finishing.

It was a suitable origin story that didn't try to offer me beyond its means which is what saved its quality from dropping which it could have easily done so. So that's a comforting consolation.

I still maintain that Fabok draws Poison Ivy the most splendidly yet, and he at least illustrated the cover for his issue and look how slick it is! She's sexy and appealing but not at all trashy. That's not to say that I thought Pina did a subpar job of drawing her in the pages themselves; there were a lot of panels which I thought were lovely to look at, and his flashback sequences were had a lightness and sweetness to their color palette which certainly makes Pamela Isley's childhood look idyllic which was far from it. The thematic 'looks can be deceiving' is very much alive in that regard then. Poison Ivy after all makes a point to drive home that grain of truth as she relishes on her past aches. This is an issue I can re-read again and appreciate. It wasn't innovative but it wasn't ambitious either which was why it was overall a solid exploration of a fascinating villainess.

I dare not say the same for the Harley Quinn one after this. Oh, boy, am I about to nerdrage on that one..


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