Poison Ivy #14 Review

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Art: Marcio Takara

Colors: Arif Prianto

Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Cover: Jessica Fong

Variant Covers: Otto Schmidt and David Nakayama; Serg Acuña

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: 3.99

Release Date: September 5, 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 #14 Review.

The Dispatch

Knight Terrors is over, and Ivy is back on the mission Killer Croc gave her. She really wants Croc’s shack in the swamp, and she’ll face danger to get it. Unlike most of the series to this point, POISON IVY #14 puts Ivy at a disadvantage. She’s not in control of the situation, and it makes for a compelling issue.

Ivy is exploring an unfinished building when POISON IVY #14. She finds a corpse with a flower in its mouth. The man was frightened to death. Is it a warning? Ivy continues through the building. She passes a form that identifies the building as part of Undine Holdings. Ivy calls Janet From HR and sends her on an undercover mission to interview at Undine and find out whatever she can. Meanwhile Ivy continues exploring the building which is growing stranger and stranger the deeper she goes until finally she can’t find her way out. And on the outside, Janet’s interview goes sideways when she finds herself face to face with Batman.

Janet From HR takes a significant step forward in POISON IVY #14. She’s been tagging along with Ivy for several issues, but she’s largely been nothing more than a hanger on. When Ivy returned to Gotham, it appeared that Janet’s purpose was going to be to set up a love triangle. But Wilson gives her added dimension here. She is confronted on her association with Ivy, warned off, and put in a position where she questions what she, Ivy, and Harley are doing. There’s a comedic element to this, certainly. Even so, Janet gains an extra level of agency in this moment, and the way the scene ultimately unfolds opens the potential for a more complicated relationship between her, Ivy, and Harley.

Putting Ivy in the position of investigator is an interesting turn for the character. There were times in the past when Ivy wasn’t always in charge of the situations she found herself in. But here she is decidedly behind the eight ball. Ivy’s plotline in the issue starts with curiosity. That curiosity slowly morphs into confusion before arriving at mild panic. Ivy has only been in this position once before in the series: when she confronted Woodrue. In that instance, the threat was personal and Woodrue was in a position to manipulate her on that level. Here the threat is an unknown which adds even more tension than was present in that encounter.

The Art & Letters

Wilson’s narrative development of Janet is furthered by Takara’s art. The character has a wider range of emotion in this issue and comes across stronger and more decisive. Much of Takara’s art in this series leans toward the bizarre. Here he gets to showcase strength with ordinary human expression and emotion. This is also exemplified with Ivy’s changing emotional state. Where Takara’s linework can be very liberal with setting and strange creatures and flora, he is more staid with character. It is particularly effective and helped along by Prianto’s subtle shading of colors to contour characters’ faces and add depth. Another wonderful combination of Takara and Prinato’s work is a moment when Ivy, in her exploration of the building, comes across a bizarre, inverted staircase that looks like a blend of M.C. Escher and Salvador Dalí. 

Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering choices when Batman appears are noteworthy for their sinister overtones. When he lands in front of Janet, the letters in the sound effect are rough, uneven, sharp. The letters’ outlines are relatively thick with a heavier shadow that reflects Batman’s motion as he lands. Batman’s dialogue is white text against black dialogue bubbles. These are qualities not generally associated with a hero, and it sets Batman as an antagonist relative to the characters in this series. There is also a meta quality to this in that it supports Harley’s contention that it’s hard to know who the heroes and villains are.

Final Thoughts

POISON IVY #14 advances the newest storylines that started developing once Ivy returned to Gotham. Setting Ivy up in an investigative role rather than the direct advancement of the story is a compelling new angle. But most interesting is Wilson’s advancement of the series’ characters, something that will continue to keep the series fresh.


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