Well, i decided to round up the trio of sirens with Poison Ivy, or red, as she is know to Harley Quinn. This flower child is no peace lover, as she is arguably (Harley Quinn) the most prolific female villain in the whole Batman franchise, and she has always been a clear cut villain….
OR HAS SHE!!!??!!??!?!
Actually no, is the answer. Throughout her Batman career, except for a few years later on, she has been portrayed as being caring and even maternal, despite not having any children. She almost always turns herself in or goes willingly when she is caught and despite her extreme eco-terrorist threats, she hardly ever fallows through with any of the major ones.
Still, she is one of the few villains in Batman to have anything near super-powers and that makes her a formidable opponent. She first appeared as a temptress in Batman #181 (1966) with no origin. This was later decided in the comics as follows:
She grew up wealthy and well educated with emotionally distant parents. She attended a class on advanced botanical’s under a Dr.Jason Woodrue who liked to experiment with combining human DNA and plant toxins. Through these experiments, which he obviously carried out on Ivy, he would eventually become Floronic man: a mutant plant with a human head. Anyway, his experiments almost kill Ivy twice and cause fungal growth on her body, which cause her to drop out of Uni and flee from Seattle to Gotham.
Thanks to these experiments, she became impervious to all toxins produced by plants. Further more, she could produce her own deadly toxins, mind control feremones and even influence plant life to grow around her much faster and to much larger sises than is considered natural. She first turns to a life of crime when she holds the city of Gotham to ransom threatening to release her toxins throughout the city, only she is defeated by Batman and put into Arkham Asylum.
When asked why she did it, she claimed it was to raise funds to find a place to be alone with her plants. And, true to her word (unusual for a villain), when she breaks out of Arkham, she travels to a deserted desert island in the Caribbean and turns it into a tropical second Eden, where she is happy… Until it’s bombed in a test run of new weapons sponsored by Gotham’s biggest businesses (Including the Wane foundation: advanced sciences division) on what they thought was an abandoned island….
Well, Ivy comes back to Gotham to poison the CEO’s of each sponsor to have her revenge. Well, her first kiss is poisonous, but her second is the antidote… She poisoned Bruce Wane, and kissed a dying Batman, curing him…. LOL! She gets captured and sent back to Arkham.
Later, she gets broken out by Floronic man and agrees to give him some of her DNA in return for a huge wad of cash and dealing mind control marijuana on the streets. Batman is overpowered by Floronics henchwomen when he tries to stop him, but Ivy breaks him free to kill Floronic man while she escapes.
Up to this point, i like Poison Ivy. She cares for plants and herself and no one else. A clear cut villain, who actually got what she wanted, for a while….
Only then Gotham suffers a huge Earthquake, all Arkham inmates break free ad territory wars begin. Batman’s diary gets solidly booked for months to come but Ivy doesn’t get involved. She instead takes over the territory of Gotham’s main Park (30 square blocks) and makes it the third Eden. She all so takes in and looks after some of the orphans of the Earthquake, caring for them as she would her own children, or her plants….
As well as this, just after the earthquake event, she finds Harley Quinn, near death after Joker had tried to kill her when there original relationship went sour. Ivy takes her in and nurses her back to health, making her impervious to toxins and super agile. They become firm friends and even travel to Metropolis together for a while…. as you well know from my Harley Quinn review: http://tgtrs.com/2013/05/17/why-i-like-harley-quinn/
This happy Eden exits for a full year, threatened once by Clayface, who was defeated by both Batman and Ivy, which earn’t Batman’s respect for the good Ivy was doing and he even said he would protect her and the park, as long as she continued to look after the orphans. Only when the police regained control of Gotham, they decided the orphans where hostages and that Ivy was the last villain holding territory in town, and against Batman’s wishes, they threaten to unleash a strong herbicide that would kill all her plants, Ivy herself, and most likely damage the Orphans as well.
She was going to defend herself until she accidentally poisoned one of the orphans, so she gave herself up to Batman to save the Orphans life. She returns to Arkham; and up to now, you have to question why she is a villain at all. I mean yeah, she implies that she will use deadly force, but up till now she hasn’t. She’s not vengeful, she keeps giving herself up, and has saved Batman’s life….
After this she has a hard time being manipulated by Hush and Riddler. Then came her last appearance; sort off. She felt her powers, in saving plants, would kill the orphans she had protected during the year after the Earthquake. To this end she seeks out Bruce Wayne’s help to cure her, only just after being cured, Hush convinces her to take a serum to return her powers, but the serum kills her…. Only on visiting her grave, they found it covered in Poison Ivy….
One year later, a totally revised Poison Ivy returns. They connect her to her old story line in her first appearance by killing two men who abuse on of the orphans she cared for….but hold on, wait, wait ,wait ,wait… wait a minuet….KILLED? Ivy never killed, she poisoned and threatened, but never actually did it…. This is a much more serious and dangerous Ivy. A more fatal, lethal fem fatal.
Soon after this appearance, she joins forces with Catwoman and Harley Quinn to become a Syrian. She works well with the other two, protecting one another from the villains of Gotham and this new violent and very dark Batman (Dick Grayson). If you’ve read my Harley Quinn review ( http://tgtrs.com/2013/05/17/why-i-like-harley-quinn/) then you already know how this ends, but for those who haven’t it ends in betrayal and vengeance and Ivy is caught in the middle of it.
And that was her last comic book appearance, unless you count the New 52 comic series with Dick Grayson as a second Batman etc, etc…. In the main line Batman comics, where still awaiting her reappearance. How exciting!
Obviously, such a prolific female villain got the Tim Burton touch in Batman and Robin played by Uma Therman. That was a cringe worthy performance by all accounts. Later in Batman: Arkham Asylum, she is on of the main Villains to defeat, as Harley letting her lose lead to a herbal takeover of the island. Then again she appears in Arkham City on the Catwoman story line. You can imagine my excitement as i discovered this, knowing about there history as the sirens, so i was so disappointed when the banter between the characters didn’t reflect that story line in any way. She has all so made a few animated T.V. appearances.
Overall, i think the fact she began as only a temptress for Batman in the early story line is obvious due to her lack of any true villainy or evil intent. Her outfits reflect this as well, as at one point she wore nothing but leaf knickers and a few vines covered very little of her breasts.
Thankfully, the character got more serious and as she got darker, she became more developed without her origin story being changed, and that is hard to do, as we’ve seen many times in this comic before and i respect the writers who pulled it off. She has grown to be an A class villain, a great feminine figure of confidence and dedication in her beliefs and most of all, a huge voice on the pages of youth entertainment for preservation of nature and the importance of plants and forests.
Poison Ivy is a great character and not always as clear cut a villain as she has turned out to be. Her character has grown and blossomed as a villain just as much as a poisonous plant, and so although she started out tacky and weak as water, i will not grade her down for it for the pleasure of reading through it to get to where she is now.
That Other Guy