Poison Ivy #12 Review

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Art: Marcio Takara

Colors: Arif Prianto

Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Cover: Jessica Fong

Variant Covers: Xermánico & Jenny Frison; Mateus Manhanini

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: 3.99

Release Date: May 2nd, 2023

If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Poison Ivy #12 Review.

The Dispatch

Actions have consequences, and sometimes everything comes full circle. POISON IVY #12 ties together most of the series’ themes and events. It puts Ivy in a tough spot, one entirely of her own making and which she may never escape.

POISON IVY #12 opens with Ivy fighting the lamia-mutated Gwen while the other women from the retreat look on. Ivy isn’t doing particularly well. She manages to bring the creature down, but comes close to death in the process. She lingers between life and death for a time before regaining consciousness at a house belonging to one of the women. Ivy jumps to work immediately, trying to save the other women exposed to her mutated lamia spores before it’s too late.

Ivy reaps what she sewed in POISON IVY #12. After abandoning her plan for wiping out humanity with lamia fungus in POISON IVY #1-6 and setting out to make smaller, more incremental changes, it looked like she was literally getting away with murder. That came to an end in the final pages in POISON IVY #11, and it forms the dominant theme in this issue. Can Ivy ever put the mortal threat she unleashed back in the box? All signs point to “no.” But this plot point plays into Ivy’s character arc. Perhaps she will escape the judgment of law enforcement. But she’s not escaping the judgment of her conscience.

The events with the women from the retreat inspire new nightmares about Woodrue, the scientist who altered Ivy in the beginning. Nightmare Woodrue insists Ivy will never escape him. And while she doesn’t listen to him in this instance, POISON IVY #12 tells us that she will never fully escape her earlier actions. And if that’s the case, can Woodrue’s influence ever be far behind? What would it take to push Ivy back toward her plans from POISON IVY #1-6?

Two other moments stand out in POISON IVY #12. The first is Ivy’s experience in the middle space between life and death. She ruminates on the nature of life–how we have no idea of what comes before or after. Ivy goes on to consider how that cycle feeds into life itself. This is well done though not particularly novel.

The other moment is a very on the nose vaccine argument. One of the women doesn’t want to take Ivy’s cure because she doesn’t like having chemicals in her body. Janet implores Ivy to force the cure on the resistant woman. Ivy replies that she can’t violate her in that way–that everyone has to live with the consequences of her actions. Given that Ivy essentially forced the lamia on humanity to begin with, it’s both troubling and hypocritical that she would refuse to force the cure on someone. In the end, this sequence reads like a somewhat inelegant discussion on the value of vaccines.

The Art & Letters

Takara’s art and Prianto’s colors created a true visual identity for POISON IVY and POISON IVY #12 does not disappoint in this area. Three Lamia creatures appear: the mutated Gwen, the Nightmare Woodrue, and an innocent bystander. They’re rough and grotesque. And as is the case with all of the conflicts with lamia creatures, Ivy also transforms. But where the lamia creatures are always haphazard and somewhat asymmetrical in appearance, Ivy looks more like a combatant in armor. It reflects her greater degree of control.

Prianto’s blend of colors on the creatures have a kind of unnatural beauty. Purple is always a prominent color on the lamia creatures which ties in nicely both to Ivy and to the infected women who all have purple splotches on them as the lamia spreads. There aren’t any bright, psychedelic sequences in this issue, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t whole pages that are explosions of color.

There are several instances of Otsmane-Elhaou using large and bold font styles for dialogue emphasis. This is especially true with Nightmare Woodrue. His standout contribution to this issue is sound effects, though. Several of them look like an organic extension of the lamia creature Ivy is fighting. One in particular appears to be written with the creature’s guts.

Final Thoughts

POISON IVY #12 wraps up the series’ second arc on a very strong note. Wilson successfully ties it into the first arc. By doing so, she lays the foundation for what could be a series where characters’ actions truly matter and will impact stories down the road. A new arc begins in the next issue, and it’s worth checking out by anyone who hasn’t yet sampled the series.


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