Poison Ivy (character)

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Poison Ivy
Poison Ivy on the variant cover of Batman vol. 3, #26 (September 2017). Art by Joshua Middleton.
Variant cover of Batman vol. 3, #26 (Sept. 2017)
Art by Joshua Middleton
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman #181 (June 1966)
Created byRobert Kanigher (writer)
Sheldon Moldoff (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoDr. Pamela Lillian Isley
Lillian Rose
Penelope Ivy[1]
SpeciesMetahuman
Team affiliationsBirds of Prey
Injustice Gang
Injustice League
Secret Society of Super Villains
S.T.A.R. Labs
Suicide Squad
Gotham City Sirens
Justice League United
PartnershipsHarley Quinn
Catwoman
Notable aliasesPaula Irving
Abilities
  • Trained botanist
  • Secretion of floral toxins and mind-controlling pheromones
  • Decelerated aging
  • Immunity to toxins and pathogens
  • The ability to mentally control the growth of plants via connection to the Green
  • Hypnosis (Via lip contact)
  • Basic hand-to-hand combatant

Poison Ivy (Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, PhD) (/ˈzli/) is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in Batman stories. Poison Ivy was created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, and made her debut in Batman #181 (June 1966).[2]

She has teamed up frequently with fellow antiheroines Catwoman and Harley Quinn. Partly inspired by the titular character in Nathanial Hawthorne's short story "Rappaccini's Daughter", she is a misanthropic botanist and biochemist who possesses a poisonous touch, enhanced physical abilities, and a supernatural control over plant life, powers which she uses for the purposes of ecoterrorism. The character's appearance is considered iconic; she is typically drawn barefoot in a one-piece costume adorned with leaves and vines, with occasional variations to her skin tone.[3][4] She uses plant toxins and mind-controlling pheromones for her criminal activities, which are usually aimed at protecting endangered species and the natural environment from the careless actions of humans. She was originally characterized as a supervillain, but as of The New 52 and DC Rebirth, she has periodically been depicted as an antiheroine or a hero, often doing the wrong things for the right reasons.

Ivy is empowered by the interplanetary force known as the Green. In Neil Gaiman's short story "Pavane," she identifies herself as nature's daughter and the rightful ruler of the world.[5] She is one of Batman's most enduring enemies, belonging to the collective of adversaries who make up Batman's rogues gallery. She has been featured in many media adaptations related to Batman. Uma Thurman portrayed the character in Batman & Robin, and Clare Foley, Maggie Geha, and Peyton List played her in Gotham. She has also been voiced by Diane Pershing in the DC Animated Universe, Piera Coppola on The Batman animated series, Tasia Valenza for the Batman: Arkham video game franchise, Riki Lindhome in The Lego Batman Movie, and Lake Bell in Harley Quinn.

Publication history[edit]

Poison Ivy was created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, and the character first appeared in Batman #181 (June 1966). Bridget Regan originally modeled her after Bettie Page, giving her the same haircut and look.[6]

The character was partly inspired by the short story "Rappaccini's Daughter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, about a maiden who tends a garden of poisonous plants; she becomes resistant to the poisons, but is rendered poisonous to others.[7]

Poison Ivy's origin is depicted in Neil Gaiman's short story "Pavane," during which she declares herself to be nature's daughter and the world's rightful ruler; it is later revealed that she was, in fact, gifted by the environmental force known as the Green.[5][8]

Ivy is considered extremely beautiful within the DC Universe, and is often presented as a temptress.[9] She is typically depicted barefoot with long flowing hair, plant vines extending over her limbs, and a green one-piece suit adorned with leaves, with occasional variations to her skin tone.[3][4][10]

Writer J. T. Krul, who helped further define Poison Ivy's personality, summed up her character with the following quote:

The thing I love most about Poison Ivy is her walking that line between bastion of Mother Nature and psycho Eco-terrorist. She sees herself as the hand of Mother Nature. If Mother Nature were "God," then Ivy would be her "Jesus." She defends the defenseless nature of the world and truly believes in her cause. Maiming, mauling, and mutilating are extreme measures, but it's nothing compared to what irredeemable cruelties humanity's done to the world of nature. Ivy always sees the greater good as she punishes those who deserve it.

— J. T. Krul[11]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

Dr. Lillian Rose, PhD[12] is a promising botanist who is persuaded by Marc LeGrand into assisting him with the theft of an Egyptian artifact containing ancient herbs. Fearing she would implicate him in the theft, he attempts to poison her with the herbs, which are deadly and untraceable. She survives this murder attempt and discovers she has acquired an immunity to all natural toxins and diseases.[13]

Post-Crisis[edit]

Following the events of the DC maxi-series comic Crisis on Infinite Earths, which massively retconned DC Universe history and continuity, Poison Ivy's origins were revised in Secret Origins #36, 1988, written by Neil Gaiman.[12] Poison Ivy's real name is Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, PhD, a Gotham City botanist. She grows up wealthy with emotionally distant parents and later studies advanced botanical biochemistry at a university with Alec Holland under Dr. Jason Woodrue. Isley, a shy girl, is easily seduced by her professor. Woodrue injects Isley with poisons and toxins as an experiment, causing her transformation.[14] She nearly dies twice as a result of these poisonings, driving her insane. Later, Woodrue flees from the authorities leaving Isley in the hospital for six months. Enraged at the betrayal, she suffers from violent mood swings, being sweet one moment and evil the next. When her boyfriend has a car accident after mysteriously suffering from a massive fungal overgrowth, Isley drops out of school and leaves Seattle, eventually settling in Gotham City.[15]

She begins her criminal career by threatening to release her suffocating spores into the air unless the city meets her demands. Batman, who appears in Gotham that very same year, thwarts her scheme, and she is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum.[16] From this point on, she has a kind of obsession with Batman, him being the only person she could not control due to his strong will and focus. Over the years, she develops plant-like superpowers, the most noticeable being a lethal toxin in her lips; she is literally able to kill with a kiss.

In subsequent issues, she states that she only started a life of crime to attain sufficient funds to find a location to be alone with her plants, undisturbed by humanity. A few years later, she attempts to leave Gotham forever, escaping Arkham to settle on a desert island in the Caribbean. She transforms the barren wasteland into a second Eden, and is, for the first time in her life, happy. It is soon firebombed, however, when an American-owned corporation tests their weapons systems out on what they think is an abandoned island. Ivy returns to Gotham with a vengeance, punishing those responsible. After being willingly apprehended by Batman, she resolves that she can never leave Gotham, at least not until the world was safe for plants. From then on, she dedicates herself to the impossible mission of "purifying" Gotham.[17]

At one point, Batman travels to Seattle to ascertain information on Pamela Isley's life before she became Poison Ivy. Here, Batman states that both of Pamela's parents are dead. When and why they died has been left undetermined.[15]

While in Arkham, Poison Ivy receives a message through flowers that someone is to help her escape. That night, two women, Holly and Eva, successfully break Ivy out and bring her back to their employer. She is less than happy to discover that it is the Floronic Man, formerly known as Dr. Jason Woodrue, her former college professor that conducted the experiments on her. The only human portion of him remaining is his head, while the rest of his body is plant-based.

After striking a deal with him in the tunnels of Gotham, Ivy receives a trunk full of money in return for samples of her DNA. Woodrue intends to combine their DNA to create a "child", all while flooding the streets of Gotham with high-grade marijuana. The purpose of this is to create a world economy run on hemp and to have their offspring control it. Batman intervenes, but is overcome by Woodrue's henchwomen, Holly and Eva. However, Ivy turns on Floronic Man and lets Batman go to fight the intoxicated maniac. In the end, Batman decapitates the Floronic Man, and Ivy escapes with her money.[18]

At times, Ivy demonstrates positive and maternal traits. When Gotham City is destroyed in an earthquake and declared No Man's Land, she holds dominion over Robinson Park and turns it into a tropical paradise rather than fight over territory like most of Batman's enemies. Sixteen children who are orphaned during the quake come to live with her as she sympathizes with them having suffered a traumatic childhood herself.[19] She cares for them like sons and daughters, despite her usual misanthropy. That winter, Clayface (Basil Karlo) pays Ivy a visit, hoping to form a bargain with her. This would entail her growing fruits and vegetables, having the orphans harvest them, and him selling the produce to the highest bidder. She wants nothing to do with the plan, and she attempts to kill him with a kiss. Clayface overpowers her, however, and imprisons Ivy and the orphans for six months in a chamber under the park's lake. He feeds her salt and keeps her from the sun to weaken her. Eventually, Batman comes and discovers the imprisoned orphans and Ivy. The two agree to work together to take Karlo down. Batman battles Clayface and instructs Robin to blow up the lake bed above, allowing the rushing water to break apart the mud, effectively freeing Ivy. She fights Karlo, ensnaring him in the branches of a tree and fatally kissing him. She then proceeds to sink him down into the ground, where he becomes fertilizer for Ivy's plants. Batman, originally intending to take the orphans away from Ivy, recognizes that staying with her is what is best for them, and they remain in her care until the city is restored. Also, as part of a bargain to keep her freedom, Batman arranges it so that Ivy provides fresh produce to the starving hordes of earthquake survivors.[10][20] Soon after, Ivy finds Harley Quinn, who had almost been murdered by the Joker, among the debris of the earthquake and nurses her back to health. The two have been best friends and partners-in-crime ever since.[21]

After Gotham City is reopened to the public, the city council wants to evict her from the park and send her back to Arkham Asylum, as they are uncomfortable with the thought of a "psychotic eco-terrorist controlling the equivalent of 30-odd square blocks." They also mistakenly believe that the orphans in Ivy's care are hostages. The Gotham City Police Department threaten to spray the park with R.C. Sixty, a powerful herbicide that most certainly would have killed every living plant in the park, including Ivy, and more than likely do harm to the children. Ivy refuses to leave the park to the city and let them destroy the paradise she had created, so she chooses martyrdom. It is only after Rose, one of the orphans, is accidentally poisoned by Ivy that the hardened eco-terrorist surrenders herself to the authorities in order to save the girl's life. Batman says that, as much as she would hate to admit it, Ivy is still more human than plant.[22]

Later on, she and other Gotham characters are manipulated by the Riddler and Hush. Her task is to hypnotize both Superman and Catwoman, using Catwoman to steal ransom money from Killer Croc after the original plan is interrupted by Batman while Superman serves as a 'bodyguard' when she hides in Metropolis. However, she abandons Catwoman to be killed by Killer Croc, and Batman is able to keep Superman busy in a fight (aided by the Kryptonite ring he was given long ago) long enough for the Man of Steel to break out of the spell. Soon afterwards, the Riddler, who is being chased and attacked by Hush, approaches Ivy and seeks her protection. Ivy, who is angered by the manipulation, battles the Riddler physically and psychologically. She comes to physically dominate her opponent, humiliating Riddler and temporarily breaking his spirit.[23]

Poison Ivy comes to believe that her powers are killing the children she had looked after, so she seeks Bruce Wayne's help to reverse her powers and make her a normal human being once more. Soon after, she is convinced by Hush to take another serum to restore her powers and apparently dies in the process. However, in Batman: Gotham Knights, when her grave is visited shortly thereafter, it is covered with ivy, creating the impression her death would be short-lived.[24][25][26][27][28][29]

Shortly after, Poison Ivy appears briefly in Robinson Park, killing two corrupt cops who killed one of her orphans (although whether this takes place before or after the aforementioned storyline is unknown).[30]

"One Year Later", Ivy is alive and active. Her control over flora has increased, referred to as being on a par with Swamp Thing or Floronic Man. She also appears to have resumed her crusade against the corporate enemies of the environment with a new fanaticism, regarding Batman no longer as a main opponent, but as a "hindrance".[31] After arriving back from a year-long absence, Batman discovers that Ivy has been feeding people including "tiresome lovers", "incompetent henchmen", and those who "returned her smile" to a giant plant which would digest the victims slowly and painfully. She refers to these murders as a "guilty pleasure". In an unprecedented event, her victims' souls merge with the plant, creating a botanical monster called Harvest, who seeks revenge upon Poison Ivy. With the intervention of Batman however, she is saved. Poison Ivy is left in critical condition, and the whereabouts of Harvest are unknown.[31]

Other storylines[edit]

In Countdown #37, the Pied Piper and the Trickster are hiding out in a greenhouse, picking fruits and vegetables from the plants. They run into Ivy, who is talking to her plants (presumably being told that Piper and Trickster hurt them), to which she reacts by tying them up in vines with the intention of killing them. She is then shown to have joined the Injustice League Unlimited and is one of the villains featured in Salvation Run.[32]

In the "Battle for the Cowl" storyline, she is coerced by a new Black Mask into joining his group of villains that aims to take over Gotham. She and Killer Croc unsuccessfully attempt to murder Damian Wayne.

Shortly after, she escapes from Black Mask's control and forms an alliance with Catwoman and Harley Quinn, leading into the ongoing series Gotham City Sirens.

During Hush's ploy to hurt Batman through hurting his loved ones, Hush kidnaps Catwoman and surgically removes her heart. After being saved by Batman, Catwoman is operated on by some of the most gifted surgeons in the world, including Doctor Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific. Zatanna also gives her a magic antidote to help heal her wounds. In order to get even with Hush, Selina enlists the help of Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Oracle, Holly Robinson, and Slam Bradley to track down all of Hush's accounts, pilfer them, and leave him penniless. Selina pays Holly, Harley, and Ivy over $30 million each, hoping that they would use the funds to leave Gotham to start fresh somewhere else.[33] However, Harley uses her money to go on a shopping spree, while Ivy gives her money away to organizations in Madagascar and Costa Rica dedicated to reforestation.

After rescuing Catwoman from Boneblaster, a new villain trying to make a name for himself, Poison Ivy takes Catwoman back to the Riddler's townhouse. When there, Catwoman sees that Ivy has been keeping the Riddler under mind control so that she and Harley could use his townhouse as a hideout. Here, Catwoman decides that with Gotham City more dangerous than ever with all the gang wars and a new Batman, a partnership with the other two women would be advantageous. However, Ivy fears that Catwoman has lost her edge and prowess, and consults with Zatanna on the nature of Catwoman's injuries. Zatanna responds that Catwoman has psychological wounds that would need healing. Ivy resolves that she and Harley would provide Catwoman with "positive female reinforcement". The three then agree to become a team. However, Harley and Ivy have one condition that Catwoman is to reveal to them Batman's secret identity.

Eventually, Ivy and the other Sirens ambush the Riddler at his office (with Ivy using her plants to truss and gag his secretary), telling him that they've been framed for the murder of a young nurse. He agrees to help clear their names, and during the discussion Ivy reveals that she has recently taken up a job at the Gotham division of S.T.A.R. Labs under an assumed name (Dr. Paula Irving).[34] She is eventually kidnapped and placed in a specialized containment unit by a researcher named Alisa Adams, but escapes and turns the table on her captor by binding her with vines. Ivy initially informs Adams that she plans to kill her, but instead decides to let her live after seeing a photograph of Alisa's young daughter. Ivy then threatens Alisa into keeping her mouth shut about her true identity, telling her that she will change her mind and kill her if she reveals her secret to anyone.[35]

When Harley Quinn betrays her friends and breaks into Arkham Asylum with the goal of killing the Joker, she ultimately chooses instead to release Joker from his cell, and together the two orchestrate a violent takeover of the facility.[36] Poison Ivy arrives and tries to convince Harley Quinn that the Joker is evil, but Harley Quinn refuses to believe her and knocks Poison Ivy unconscious. After they are defeated by Catwoman and Batman, Catwoman then tells Poison Ivy that they are no longer friends, after Ivy had drugged Catwoman in an attempt to discover Batman's identity. Poison Ivy is taken to Arkham Asylum.[37] Ivy soon escapes and ambushes Harley in her cell, binding and gagging her former friend before she can defend herself. Ivy struggles with the decision to execute Harley for her betrayal, but ultimately releases her after realizing that she is still her friend. Together, the two set off to find Catwoman and make her pay for leaving them behind.[38] The two of them find Catwoman and fight her on the streets. While fighting, Catwoman confesses that she saw good in the both of them and only wanted to help them. When she tells them that she only kept tabs on them because Batman wanted to keep them under control, Ivy lashes out onto the city by using giant vines to destroy buildings, cursing at Batman for manipulating her. Batman is about to arrest them, but Catwoman helps the two of them escape.[39]

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52 (the 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Poison Ivy is recruited into the covert-ops group known as the Birds of Prey. Though she is specifically hand-picked by the team's leader, Black Canary, the other members of the group protest Ivy's inclusion, citing her violent past and connections to various murders.[40] These suspicions are proven correct when Ivy poisons the team and forces them to attack corrupt companies she wants to destroy, until Katana apparently kills her.[41]

Ivy survives the injuries and returns to Gotham, breaking out Clayface/Basil Karlo in order to manipulate him into becoming her husband. Batman intervenes to help her, mainly because the locations she attacked were the Penguin's properties. Poison Ivy ends up captured by Penguin's men.[42] She is buried alive by them, but survives long enough to be rescued by Penguin's right-hand man Emperor Penguin who has taken over his boss' businesses after the Joker's return. He proposes an alliance with her.[43] However, Karlo, whom Batman had set free from Ivy's control, tracks down and attacks Poison Ivy.[44]

The character's origin, in this new DC universe, was presented in a special issue of Detective Comics (#23.1), during the "Villains Month" event in September 2013.[45]

In this timeline of The New 52, Pamela Isley was born with a skin condition that prevented her from leaving her home. She spent most of her limited time outside in her family's garden. Her abusive father murdered her mother and buried her in the garden. While in college, Pamela sold pheromone pills to other students to study its effects until she was caught by police. She used a powerful version of the pills to control the dean's mind so he would drop the charges and let her graduate with honors. While visiting her father in prison, she kissed him, and the poison that was secreted from her lips killed him.

Later she landed an internship in Wayne Enterprises' Bio-Chemistry division developing pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications. She was fired after suggesting to Bruce Wayne that the company develop chemicals that could brainwash people. As she was escorted out by security, she accidentally spilled the chemicals she was working with on herself, giving her powers to control plant life and immunity to all poisons and viruses.

Cycle of Life and Death[edit]

Poison Ivy as Dr. Pamela Isley, PhD in Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1 (March 2016). Art by Clay Mann and Seth Mann.

In January 2016, DC Comics debuted Ivy's first solo comic book series, Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death. As Dr. Pamela Isley, PhD, she joins the plant sciences department at Gotham Botanical Gardens, but things quickly get complicated when Luisa Cruz, Ivy's friend and mentor, is murdered via poisoning. Ivy investigates the murder whilst working on her genetic engineering research that culminates in the creation of two plant-human hybrid children known as Rose and Hazel.

With the help of Selina Kyle and fellow researcher Darshan, Poison Ivy finds that the Gotham Botanical Gardens are performing experiments, using Ivy's research, which result in the creation of another plant-human hybrid child known as Thorn. Ivy destroys the laboratory and rescues the child. Ivy raises Rose, Hazel and Thorn who grow to adult size at an exponential rate, becoming young women within 35 weeks. When the girls sneak out to see Gotham City at night for the first time, they cause an incident at a strip club that gets the police involved, and Ivy has to help them escape.

Returning to the apartment, Ivy locks Rose, Hazel and Thorn away so they will not leave again. Ivy finds Doctor Eric Grimley, Chair of the Gotham Botanical Gardens Research Department, waiting for her. Grimley had been conducting experiments with Ivy's research in order to cure his own cancer; he had then murdered Luisa because she was suspicious of the experiments he was performing. Now, with his cancer returning, he intends to harvest Rose, Thorn, and Hazel for spores to be used as another cure. He attacks Ivy, and transforms into a giant, plant-like monster. Darshan arrives and releases the girls. Ivy, Rose, Hazel, Thorn, and Darshan, along with Swamp Thing (who seeks to kill Grimley for trying to break the cycle of life and death) fight and defeat Grimley, with Thorn hacking him up with a machete.

Darshan later helps Rose, Thorn, and Hazel leave Ivy, reasoning that they were getting so restless they would go eventually with or without his help. They set off away from Gotham to places unknown, saying they plan to live out their lives regardless of how short they may be.

DC Universe[edit]

DC Comics began the next relaunch of its entire line of titles, called DC Rebirth, in June 2016. DC opted to rebrand its titles under the "DC Universe" name in December 2017, using the continuity established from DC Rebirth.[46][47] In the "Better Together" story arc of Trinity, Poison Ivy finds a dreamworld and the White Mercy entity, both created by the Black Mercy plant for Mongul, through her connection to the Green. After capturing Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman, she places them into the dreamworld and intends to use the solar energy emitted from Superman's body to open a gateway to bring the White Mercy—whom she considers as a daughter—over from the dreamworld. It is later revealed that Mongul deceived Poison Ivy and intended to conquer Earth using Superman as a vessel. Mongul is defeated by the White Mercy, using Batman as a temporary and willing vessel. As Poison Ivy and the White Mercy bid farewell to each other, the White Mercy uses her connection to the Green to make Poison Ivy lose her memories of the incident, so Ivy doesn't need to suffer any heartache.[48] In the continuity, the "Better Together" story arc takes place after the events in Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death involving Ivy's children.[49]

In Batgirl, Poison Ivy helps Batgirl save an airplane and its passengers from a plant, one of Ivy's specimen, that is growing uncontrollably in the cargo bay. In the end, she reluctantly allows Batgirl to kill it.[50]

In the "Ends of the Earth" arc of All-Star Batman, Poison Ivy goes into Death Valley where she conducts research on a barren tree to discover cures. Here, Batman asks Poison Ivy for help with a deadly bacteria, which was unleashed by Mr. Freeze, informing her about an infected girl and giving her samples of it. Upon examining it, Ivy realizes that the infected girl is already dead and Batman wanted to evoke her sympathy as he is actually seeking for a cure to combat the spread of the disease. She also reveals that, when she was still working at Wayne Enterprises, she had presented her research wrongly as she thought Bruce Wayne wanted something to manipulate people but she was actually researching pheromones to make people feel good. Batman warns Ivy that an unknown strike force is after her, because they know Ivy is able to pull biological weapons from the tree. After Batman helps Ivy in the fight, Ivy synthesizes a selective agent that can destroy the spores without harming the hosts.[51]

In "The War of Jokes and Riddles" story arc of Batman, Poison Ivy has allied herself with the Riddler in his war against the Joker.[52] In the arc, when the Riddler was trying to convince her to join his side, she is seen stopping Carmine Falcone's men—who are sent to kill the Riddler—by capturing them in vines.[53]

In the "Gotham Resistance" tie-in story arc for Dark Nights: Metal, Poison Ivy controls a jungle-like realm within a Gotham City warped by the dark energy emitted from the dark metal in the cards given by the Batman Who Laughs to various enemies of Batman including Poison Ivy herself. Poison Ivy captures Harley Quinn—who realizes that Poison Ivy isn't herself—Green Arrow, Nightwing, Robin, and Killer Croc as they try to solve what's going on and stop it. They escape when Poison Ivy violently reacts to her plants being harmed during an attack by several members of the Teen Titans and Suicide Squad, who all also have been twisted, as well as a Dark Robin.[54]

In the "Source Code" story arc of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Poison Ivy infiltrates and tries to take down Terracare, a company whose fertilizers contain a secret ingredient destructive to bee populations. She comes across the Birds of Prey (Huntress, Black Canary, and Batgirl) and Catwoman who were trying to save the Calculator's family held hostage by Terracare. Terracare had namely traced back a data breach to the Calculator who sold the information to Catwoman, so she could steal a vial of the ingredient from Terracare for Poison Ivy. She did this for Ivy, as Ivy once saved her from Boneblaster. After they stopped those responsible at Terracare, Batgirl arranges that Poison Ivy becomes the chemist in charge of the fertilizers.[55] After this arc, Poison Ivy is occasionally seen working at Terracare (now acquired by Gordon Clean Energy) or helping the Birds of Prey against villains (such as the Daughters of Gotham or the Calculator).[56]

In the "Unnatural Disaster" storyline of Damage, Poison Ivy has fallen under the influence of forces that led to a desire to destroy humanity. She partnered with Gorilla Grodd for that purpose . They fought against Damage (Ethan Avery) who is trying to protect people from them. However, Poison Ivy eventually resists the control of these forces, as she thinks that people are worth saving and doesn't want to be a killer. At the end, Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) reveals to Ethan Avery that the Green is trying to change Poison Ivy but hasn't succeeded.[57]

Batman #41–43 features a Poison Ivy arc titled "Everyone Loves Ivy". Fueled by her guilt over the men she thought she killed in "The War of Jokes and Riddles", Poison Ivy uses her powers to take control of everyone on earth, except Batman and Catwoman. With the help of Harley Quinn, Batman and Catwoman convince Poison Ivy to release the world from her control. At the end of arc, Poison Ivy enters a facility known as the Sanctuary for rehabilitation.[58]

In Heroes in Crisis, at the mental health institution Sanctuary, Poison Ivy is seen giving a confession in which she states that she shouldn't be there because they are made for heroes and she is a terrorist. Earlier, Harley Quinn had told Poison Ivy to go to Sanctuary and followed her there.[59] Ivy and several others are killed when Wally West loses control of the Speed Force, but Wally revives Ivy from the Green by using the Speed Force on a rose that was a part of Ivy given to Harley.[60] The following Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy limited series shows Ivy still struggling to completely regenerate. With Harley's aid, Ivy is eventually restored fully, but accidentally creates an identical plant duplicate of herself during her recovery. Both innocently unaware of being a duplicate, the Ivy-double and Harley go on the run together when enemies attack, leaving behind the real Ivy feeling abandoned and betrayed. By the time the pair learn of their mistake, Ivy is murderously insane towards Harley, forcing the double to sacrifice herself to save Harley and stabilize Ivy's sanity.

Harley Quinn[edit]

Harley Quinn features Ivy as Harley's best friend and then lover. Ivy has helped Harley out on several adventures between her ecological terrorism gigs back in Harley's new home on Coney Island. She helps Harley explain to the local assassins that Harley posted her own bounty while sleepwalking and that trying to kill her would just lead to their deaths and no pay day. Harley rescued her from a super villain's mind control while Ivy was secretly held prisoner and used by said villain in Arkham. She assisted in hiring the Gang of Harleys and nursing Harley back to health when Captain Strong's mutant possibly alien seaweed put her in the hospital. She and Catwoman joined Harley on a road trip when Harley's uncle died and found that while both she and Harley are immune to most toxins, that does not include some secret drink brewed up on an Indian reservation. She and Harley were invited to spend a romantic week in Bermuda on a nudist colony by Sy Borgman. When there was a dispute over some real estate Ivy helped turn it into protected swampland. Also, when the Penguin attacks New York with giant killer penguins, she helps defeat him by growing a giant daisy in what their friend Eggy calls "the worst Kaiju fight ever".

Activism[edit]

Ivy calls herself an "ecoterrorist of global importance" and has demonstrated philanthropic contributions to conservation efforts. The Gotham Girls episode "Pave Paradise" has her going out of her way to get Gotham's mayor to prevent bulldozing of a park because he swore he would not do it in his election campaign. In Gotham City Sirens, Ivy reveals that she donated her $30 million share of Hush's money to a reforestation fund.[61]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Initially thought to have been transformed by human experiments, Isley is later revealed to be gifted by the Green, an interplanetary force which grants her a supernatural control over plant life, enhanced strength and stamina, the power to transfer poison through touch, complete immunity to all toxins and poisons, and the ability to project mind-controlling pheromones.[8][62] With the latter power at its full potential, she proves capable of controlling every person on Earth, including other super-powered beings.[58]

She has the ability to control and mutate all forms of plant life on a molecular level, making it respond to her will and command. Her expertise as a biochemist lets her develop mutant plants, and create and bring to life plants that were long thought to be extinct. In volume three of Batman, she causes giant plant roots to become uprooted at a moment's notice, and directs the roots to entangle her enemies.[63] While in Arkham Asylum, she manipulates and animates plants, using roots to form supports for a tunnel she and another inmate named Magpie dig to escape, and also spawning glowing fungi to entertain Magpie.[64] Plant vines are also commonly seen extending over her limbs and neck, creating part of her overall appearance.[65] She controlled an entire tree to come down on Clayface, ensnaring him in its branches, and once brought a whole skyscraper down with giant vines.

Some versions of the character depict her as more plant than human, such as breathing carbon dioxide and undergoing photosynthesis. Her special pheromones let her mesmerize and manipulate people around her, men in particular, although strong-minded people like Batman are usually capable of resisting. She can also create the most potent floral toxins in Gotham City, ranging from truth serums to love potions. Often these toxins are secreted from her lips and administered in her preferred way, a poisonous kiss.

Poison Ivy is identified by the Swamp Thing as a being with an elemental mystical component, whom he calls the "May Queen".[66] Ivy is able to communicate over great distances with this talent, as she manifests in a vase of roses in Zatanna's dressing room to talk to the magician.[67] Since her death and rebirth, her control over plants increased to the point she can grow giant animated plants from seedlings in seconds, hear through plants, and channel her consciousness into plant material from long distances.

The character carries a certain number of live vines: coupled with her natural ability to commune with plant life, they act as weaponry, or defensive/grabbing appendages. Their supply is, however, limited.[68]

Beyond her metahuman traits, Ivy is shown to be exceptionally physically fit both due to gymnastics and her enhanced health; being both similar to Harley Quinn in skill as well as showing enough hand-to-hand combat prowess to challenge Batman without relying solely on her powers.

Romantic relationships[edit]

Batman[edit]

Although Poison Ivy has been historically portrayed as a supervillainess, Batman and Poison Ivy have worked together in achieving common goals and are frequently depicted as having a romantic relationship. Batman's attraction to Ivy is present in some way in several mediums in which the characters appear. There has always been a sexual tension between the two, most notably in their canonical earlier encounters.[69][70]

In her first appearance, Poison Ivy is established as having an attraction to Batman, and tries to convince Batman to join her side and creates love potions that ensnare him.[71]

In the 1997 story Batman: Poison Ivy, Christopher DeJardin tries to kill Ivy, and Batman takes the bullet. Batman, who was wearing body armor, knocks him out. Ivy considers his saving her from death as proof he loves her, though he responds that she doesn't know the meaning of the word.

Her attraction is confirmed in Widening Gyre.

At first, Ivy's infatuation with Batman was one-sided; later stories presented the attraction as more mutual, but hindered by reluctance on Batman's part. She later kisses Bruce during a robbery, poisoning him. But when she subsequently kisses a dying Batman, she unknowingly cures her intended victim and establishes a budding romantic tension between them. During the "No Man's Land" arc, Batman comes to her rescue while she is held captive by Clayface, with Ivy remarking that she knew he would.[72]

In Batman: Pavane (1989), while being interviewed as a potential candidate for the Suicide Squad, Pamela reveals to Inspector Stuart on how she became Poison Ivy. When she heard about Batman, she instantly fell in love with him—believing him to be the “perfect man”; going so far as to make a love shrine of him. With her goal set, she moved to Gotham, created a costume and renamed herself “Poison Ivy”; she then began committing crimes for the purpose of getting his attention in the hopes of them becoming the #1 crime couple. Unfortunately for Pamela, it didn't work out the way she wanted it to, and so she was apprehended and sent to Arkham Asylum.

In Batman: Hothouse (1992), Batman gains an obsession with Isley. Later, she kisses him. Now completely deranged, Ivy thinks herself "Titania, Queen of the May", and Batman her Oberon - as Batman struggles with the hallucinations induced by the kiss, she pins him down and prepares to unmask him. With his last burst of strength, Batman kicks the greenhouse's sprinklers on, washing away Ivy's pheromones. The sobered Batman chases an increasingly desperate Ivy onto the greenhouse's catwalks, where he barely manages to save Ivy from falling to her death. Subsequently, Ivy is returned to Arkham Asylum, her twisted love for Batman stronger than ever.

In one of the annuals of Batman: Shadow of the Bat, a mutual attraction between Poison Ivy and the Batman is obvious right from the start. Ivy considers Batman "the perfect man", and in a conversation with his butler, Alfred Pennyworth, he admits to finding her attractive and more appealing than Catwoman.[69][70]

In the Batman Chronicles (1995) story Passion's Fruit (1997), Ivy is depicted as feeling lonely and deeply missing Batman while at Arkham Asylum. She hatches a scheme to unleash some of her plant creations to cause havoc in Gotham, multiplying at contact with water, until Batman finally pays her a visit at the asylum. In exchange for the visit and a kiss, she morphs her creations into harmless strawberry plants. At the end of the story she is seen to be in improved spirits.

In the 2004 story Batman/Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows, Batman and Ivy work together to find a killer carrying out a series of Ivy-like murders at Arkham. His butler, Alfred Pennyworth, notes that Batman has been poisoned by the flowers. Batman tells Alfred he must kiss Poison Ivy for the cure, and that if he fails Alfred must kill him. Ivy and Batman confront each other, where Batman warns Ivy that he'll have to knock her out to kiss her to make sure that she doesn't kill him when he passes out after being cured. Ivy insists for him to trust her, despite Batman's doubts. Batman at first decides to punch her, hesitates, then they embrace and kiss passionately instead. Upon being cured, he falls, but saves himself, and saves Ivy as Gotham Tower collapses when — assuming Batman dead — Poison Ivy tries to kill herself, once more insinuating that it is more than just lust she feels for him. Ivy and Batman share a moment together speaking, watching her plant creations create light, and Batman compliments her on her talent. Batman takes Ivy back to Arkham Asylum, so that Ivy can finish her rehabilitation. Discouraged, Ivy complains to Batman about the lack of light in her cell, and Batman responds that there is nothing he can do about it, before departing. Transferred to a new cell the next morning, Ivy is stunned when she discovers that someone has had her room moved to a special cell where she can be in the sunlight, and has been filled with flowers as a gift. Upon being told some "anonymous benefactor" wanted to make sure her time isn't as daunting as it might have been, a touched Ivy smiles and thanks Batman.[73]

In Detective Comics (vol. 2) #14 (January 2013), Ivy kisses Batman, trying to gain control over him via her toxins, and saying, “You're the only one for me Batman, you know that right? Nobody else even comes close. Not anybody.⁣⁣⁣” Rather than using an antidote, he rigs his visor to show him certain set of visual stimuli that will effectively erase his short-term memory, thereby erasing any commands she gives him as well. Aware of his resistance, she tries to appeal to his sense of morality.

In Gothtopia, Batman comes to her rescue when he realizes she was telling him the truth, even though he put her in Arkham. First she punches him for not believing her claims, and then she kisses him for coming to her rescue, poisoning him with her mind control toxin. Resisting it, he warns that they would be best off helping each other for now. Thanks to her own resistance and the kiss he received, both Batman and Ivy become immune to Scarecrow's gas effect.

The relationship even briefly deviated from the Batman/Ivy relationship into a Bruce/Pamela one when, in the comic series Batman: Gotham Knights, he helps her return to normal.

Harley Quinn[edit]

Prior to the New 52 reboot, Ivy is shown as teamed up on occasion with fellow villain Harley Quinn with Harley being her close friend and recurring ally. They are sometimes shown as romantically involved.[74][75][71] Unlike most villain team-ups, their partnership is based on genuine friendship and mutual respect. Ivy sincerely wants to save Harley from her unhealthy abusive relationship with the Joker. Accordingly, Poison Ivy despises the Joker, and the two exchange vicious banter at every opportunity. In the final storyline of the Gotham City Sirens series, Harley suggests that Ivy may be in love with her, an accusation that stuns her.[37] The following issue has Poison Ivy acknowledge that she may indeed love Harley, but the details of her love are never specified, and the series ended with the New 52 reboot before their relationship could be addressed.[38]

In June 2015, Poison Ivy was revealed to be romantically involved with Harley Quinn by Harley Quinn series writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, stating that she is in a romantic relationship with Harley "without the jealousy of monogamy".[76]

In Harley Quinn #8, Harley went on a vacation with Ivy to a nudist colony in which she tried to convince Ivy to move in with her, but while Ivy admitted that she loves Harley more than any other person on Earth and would love to spend as much time with her as possible, she is currently more dedicated to saving the environment. Harley was disappointed and very sad, but accepted it and the two parted with promises to meet again.[74][77]

In Injustice 2 #70, which takes place in an alternate universe, Poison Ivy states that she was married to Harley Quinn.[78]

Teams[edit]

Ivy teamed up on occasion with fellow villain, Harley Quinn with Harley being her close friend and recurring ally. The partnership between Harley and Ivy has also at times included Catwoman, such as in episodes and issues of the Gotham Girls webtoon and comic book series. In the mainstream DC Universe, the three formed an alliance in the pages of Gotham City Sirens.[33]

Poison Ivy was invited to join the Birds of Prey by Black Canary in The New 52 continuity reboot. Katana and Starling reject the idea and even attack Ivy, but after a brief scuffle, the women begin working together as a team. She remained with the team for a time, but eventually betrayed them, shortly before the team split-up. When the Birds were reformed under the leadership of Batgirl, Poison Ivy was not invited back.

Poison Ivy joins Two-Face's gang for a short period of time during Batman: Dark Victory, when she murders crime boss Lucia Viti on Two-Face's orders. She is notably the only member of the gang to be upset by Two-Face's casual murder of fellow gang member Solomon Grundy, a plant-based entity. The gang is broken up after Two-Face's apparent death at the hands of the Joker.

Poison Ivy is a member of the original Injustice Gang of the World, which fights the Justice League on several occasions.[79]

She joins the Secret Society of Super Villains for a mission against the Justice League.[80][81] She later joins Alexander Luthor, Jr.'s incarnation of the Society.[82]

She is coerced into being a member of the Suicide Squad. During this time, she uses her abilities to enslave Count Vertigo.[83]

Reception[edit]

IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time ranked Poison Ivy as #64.[84] She was ranked 21st in Comics Buyer's Guide's "100 Sexiest Women in Comics" list.[85]

Other versions[edit]

JLA: Created Equal[edit]

In JLA: Created Equal, Ivy and Swamp Thing team up to mentally travel through the Green, to try and discover what exactly caused the event which wiped out almost every male on the planet. But the trip is too much for her and it shatters her mind.

Batman: Crimson Mist[edit]

In Batman: Crimson Mist, Ivy is one of the many villains whom the now vampiric Batman kills for blood, the vampire Batman's presence causing her plants to wither around him as he gives Ivy the kiss she always wanted, commenting that he could only want her while in the darkness and decay of corruption. Her head is apparently left at GCPD headquarters after her demise.

Elseworlds[edit]

  • In Batman & Demon: A Tragedy, Ivy is characterized as an elfen healer. She gives Bruce Wayne a cure for his night terrors, only to be slaughtered by Etrigan the Demon.
  • In Justice League International Annual #5, published under the Elseworlds banner, Ivy is one of 10 superhumans who has made herself known to the public. In this story, Ivy has the power to seduce and control men, as well as the ability to secrete poison from her touch, willingly.

JLA/Avengers[edit]

In JLA/Avengers #3, Poison Ivy appears as a servant of Krona and attacks Aquaman and the Vision as a part of a group of villains. Poison Ivy strangles Aquaman in vines but is blasted by Iron Man and defeated.

Smallville[edit]

Poison Ivy is featured in the Smallville season 11 digital comic based on the TV series. During the "Lantern" arc, she is briefly featured as being a reciprocate of a Yellow Lantern ring and escaping Arkham Asylum. She is subdued by Batman and Nightwing. [86]

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Poison Ivy is one of the many villains subsequently killed by Batman.[87]

Batman '66[edit]

In Batman '66 (which is based on the 1960s TV series), Poison Ivy appears. In this continuity, Pamela Isley had botanist parents who started their own nursery called Isley Nursery and worked at a university. After her father Dr. Isley died from a toxic tropical plant, Pamela blamed the university that her father worked for as they did not bother to find an antidote for him. Upon moving back to the south with her mother, Pamela improved in her botany and became immune to the toxin that killed her father. With her new powers, she became Poison Ivy and committed crimes with her plants. Batman and Robin came across her while investigating Louie the Lilac's apparent demise.[88]

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles[edit]

Ivy appears as one of the mutated Arkham inmates in the Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover. She was mutated into a humanoid mutant praying mantis.[89]

Injustice: Gods Among Us/Injustice 2[edit]

In the tie-in comic to Injustice: Gods Among Us, Poison Ivy first appears in "Chapter 21" of Year Three, where Dick Grayson, now the new Deadman, possesses Ivy and has her drive the Batplane to the House of Mystery and House of Secrets, where Batman's Insurgency and Superman's Regime are doing battle. Before she can figure out where she is, she gets attacked by Swamp Thing as the 2 of them battle, before they stop and use their powers to save the forest from Trigon's hellfire. As Trigon and Mister Mxyzptlk's battle continues to tear reality apart, the 2 teams retreat into the respective houses, before Doctor Fate and Shazam stops them. Ivy then reappears in Year Four, where her best friend, Harley Quinn tries to convince her to commit a crime with her because she's bored, but Ivy refuses and suggests that Harley turn to someone else. Ivy then reappears in Ground Zero, where Harley calls her to recruit her for her gang, the Joker Clan, but Ivy refuses until Harley can stand up to Joker and since the Regime's peace, plant life is now prospering. Ivy then reappears at the end, where she shows up at Gary's funeral, much to Harley's surprise. Ivy then tries to convince Harley that they can run away together and be free, but Harley refuses to leave her gang behind until the war between the Regime and Insurgency is over, which Ivy accepts. The two of them then share a kiss before Ivy leaves, wishing Harley good luck.

In the tie-in comic to Injustice 2, one year after the Regime's fall, Poison Ivy joins Ra's al Ghul and his team for the purpose of creating a better world for The Green. The comic establishes that Ivy and Harley were a couple, and issue #70 hints that the two got married in Las Vegas.[90][91]

Batman: White Knight[edit]

Poison Ivy has a minor appearance in the 2017 series Batman: White Knight. Ivy, along with several other Batman villains, is tricked by Jack Napier (who in this reality was a Joker who had been force fed an overdose of pills by Batman which temporarily cured him of his insanity) into drinking drinks that had been laced with particles from Clayface's body. This was done so that Napier, who was using Mad Hatter's technology to control Clayface, could control them by way of Clayface's ability to control parts of his body that had been separated from him. Ivy and the other villains are then used to attack a library which Napier himself was instrumental in building in one of Gotham City’s poorer districts. Later on in the story, the control hat is stolen by Neo-Joker (the second Harley Quinn, who felt that Jack Napier was a pathetic abnormality while Joker was the true, beautiful personality), in an effort to get Napier into releasing the Joker persona.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass[edit]

Poison Ivy appears as a supporting character in the 2019 graphic novel Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass. This version of the character is an Afro-Asian American student[92] activist and member of Gotham High's film club by name of Ivy Du-Barry. She eventually ends up befriended by Harleen Quinzel, who has been sent to live in Gotham City by her mother.

In other media[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]