Poison Ivy #4 Review

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Art: Marcio Takara 

Colors: Arif Prianto

Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Cover: Jessica Fong

Variant Covers: Matias Bergara; Sozomaika; Amy Reeder

Publisher: DC Comics

Price: 3.99

Release Date: September 6th, 2022

Issue after issue Ivy has faced the human cost of her great work yet managed to persevere in her convictions. But at long last she makes a connection that puts all of that in danger.

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 #4 Review.

The Dispatch

POISON IVY #3 ended with a ray of light–the slimmest hope that Ivy’s humanity might just beat out, or at the very least temper, her willingness to sacrifice countless people in order to restore the planet. That sentiment is carried over into POISON IVY #4 in a story that gives us the most conflicted and vulnerable Ivy in the series to date.

Every issue of POISON IVY has seen Ivy interact with other humans in different ways, progressing from outright hostility in the first issue to working companionably in common cause in the third issue. In POISON IVY #4 Wilson crafts a story where Ivy forms a connection with someone else on a personal level after taking action specifically to benefit them. Whereas in the previous issue Ivy’s cooperation and momentary friendship with Carrie was borne out of a desire to rehabilitate a park (and thus contribute to Ivy’s overall goal), Ivy’s actions in POISON IVY #4 don’t tie into her personal mission. In fact, they don’t involve helping the planet (as she sees it) in any way.

This growing reconnection to humanity has also coincided with Ivy’s more frequent expressions of longing for Harley and regret for how their relationship ended before this series began. The brief relationship Ivy sparks in POISON IVY #4 reminds her of her time with Harley–not of specific moments but of the overall emotional connection. Ivy left behind a lot to for this mission, but she is more and more conflicted by it over time. Ivy confronts how this new relationship interferes with and threatens her other actions by the end of the issue.


All of this isn’t to say that Ivy abandons her mission in POISON IVY #4, or that she is above using her abilities to coerce and punish individuals. On a large scale she is taking advantage of an even greater way to widely distribute her spores. And in furthering this close connection to another person, Ivy secretly and rather horrifically kills someone else.

POISON IVY #4 also revisits the fact, explicitly stated in the previous issue, that she will die before her ecological paradise is realized. In my review of POISON IVY #3 I likened this to figures in history and myth who never got to experience the changes that resulted from their struggles (my specific and obvious example was Moses not getting to enter the promised land). POISON IVY #4 adds a new wrinkle to this idea in the form of temptation.

Like many of these historical and mythological figures, Ivy has come across the possibility of an easier path. She has a chance to enjoy life more if she simply stops what she’s doing. Yes, Ivy’s past and present actions complicates any current attempt on her part to maintain stronger human relationships. But it appeals to her here. She could look for ways to make it work and abandon her great pursuit if she chooses.

The Art

POISON IVY #4 delivers the series’ most disturbing body horror sequence yet when Ivy kills one person to help her newfound friend. The character’s death unfolds over the course of three pages with. Takara and Prianto depict a transformation and mutilation that progresses from panel to panel. Colors and patterns, feeling vaguely of nature yet somehow distorted, fill the pages’ margins. This begins on the final panel of the first. The art for the character’s slow death overflows from the panel into the page’s bottom corner. The motif then continues over the next two pages. Ivy has killed many people to this point. But this singular murder, motivated not by her cause but by her connection to another human, feels truly personal. Takara and Prianto capture this moment perfectly–not just the death but also the depiction of Ivy as she watches.

There’s also a striking moment that comes later in the issue. Harley appears in panel, superimposed over Ivy and her friend’s interactions depicted in shadow. Takara draws Harley so happy and earnest that even readers uninterested in the pair’s relationship may feel for Ivy’s ex.

Final Thoughts

In issue after issue POISON IVY has delivered a fascinating character study of someone committing terrible actions because they are motivated by a great cause. What Ivy is doing is beyond horrible on every level but she remains captivating because she recognizes how inhumane it is despite deeming it absolutely necessary, In POISON IVY #4, the strongest to date, she is forced to confront those two competing convictions in the most powerful way yet, and it’s hard to find fault with any part of Willow, Takara and Prianto’s presentation.


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