Friday, April 28, 2017

All Star Batman by Scott Snyder issue #7

First and foremost, the extent of how Poison Ivy was depicted for this issue alone was incredibly positive, partly because of how careful Snyder was in writing her dialogues and mostly due to the beautiful illustrations drawn by artist Tula Lotay who made Poison Ivy at least visually less lewd and sexually charged than most more modern comics have been shamelessly parading her as. The sensual and classy version of Poison Ivy is something I remember watching and enjoying in the animated series which was why any other take on her sexuality that is often too much of her defining trait is something I tend to steer clear away from. 

Aside from being one of the memorable Bat-villains from the Rogues' gallery, Poison Ivy embodied female sexuality like no other fictional woman in comics, I believe, because she's also intimately connected with plant life ergo nature itself so she became unavoidably a conduit for everything feminine in its supposedly most empowering form. Nevertheless, she was still portrayed as a villain most of the time; a grand seductress with vengeful, reactionary tendencies towards anyone, especially men, who would abuse and trample on the environment which often put her in the role of a simple eco-terrorist. She cares so much about nature that she was willing to sacrifice humanity, her own race, either to sustain or improve plant life in earth.

That's her deal and to achieve writing her as a nearly sympathetic character can be a challenge for writers, and one that Synder attempted for this issue and actually succeeded, in my honest and humble opinion. The second installment of Ends of the Earth is a slow read and quite substantially just as expository as the first one with Mr. Freeze though this one also has many dialogues and discussions between Batman and Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy). Action also occurred less here and only one confrontation at the closing pages happened. Overall, the main story dealt mostly on Batman appealing to Isley to help him contain the epidemic that Freeze spread last issue. He sought her aid by personalizing it for her by telloa young girl aspiring to be an ecologist just like Isley but whose contact with the disease and subsequent death with label her only as the carrier and nothing else.

Isley, of course, would take issue on that, sympathizing with said girl but had at first didn't show it just so she can put up a strong front before Batman. What I really enjoyed about their simple yet nuanced interaction is that Batman genuinely believed that there is goodness in Isley that he knew he can connect with and even rely on, as well as the fact that he was willing to humble himself before her and admit to himself and especially to her that he cannot do this all alone and he expresses a desire to work with someone who has great knowledge about how to counter this viral attack, even if that someone is one whom the world considers nothing more but an antagonist, all for the sake of saving lives and avoiding more losses.

For the way their relationship alone was depicted for this second installment, I'm giving this issue high rating. As for the eight-paged backup story, there isn't much to say at all which was disappointing. Artist Francavilla wasn't also given that much material to work with so his usually great illustrations didn't strike as anything notable. I only liked one panel and it's about Duke Thomas and how his insecurities were spelled out by Snyder. I liked that brutal honesty at least.


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