CCI: Comic Character Investigation #11 septembre 2010
[ENGLISH] Since the inception of The Golden Age of comics in 1938, many heroes, and many villains, have splashed their battles across artistic pages, have endured their struggles in those same pages and have intrigued a readership which has loved their adventures for 72 years. This column celebrates such characters by taking a look each month at one of them. Some you will know and some are more obscure, but all hold a significant place in comics, for the world of stories in any medium is about the characters who populate it. The spectacular citizens of the universe who inhabit the comic book nation might be brave or sinister, bold or fearful, but all are characters who we can never forget. So, The Golden Age becomes the Silver Age, The Silver becomes The Bronze and so on, until today and until tomorrow. . . in The Endless Age of comics, and the beings who live inside them.
The Deadly Desire of Poison Ivy
Fine wines take time and age to reach perfection and so do some lovely eco-terrorists. PhD Pamela Isley, a.k.a. Poison Ivy, took 181 issues of Batman to make her first appearance and we may be glad that she finally arrived. Imagine a beauty with flowing red hair, a brilliant mind, purposeful and troublesome with a sensual form outfitted quite immodestly in green leaves, a woman who has deadly power in her appearance alone. You have imagined Poison Ivy and no one is more deserving of the name.
Controlling plant life at will, she has made Batman her target on many occasions. As her enemy does, she believes strongly in something and has sufficient power backing up that belief . . . protecting all plant life, especially endangered species, even if it means the loss of human life.
Within this skewed set of priorities, she uses men’s desires for her to full effect as well. Once drawn in to the auburn-haired seductress’s lair, her lips prove deathly toxic to any man fool enough to enjoy them. Lacing her lipstick with poison, yet immune herself, they are all helpless to escape her kiss of death. Men are quite disposable to her for only the forest green is worth her heart’s true love and she has little tolerance for the world of men.
Perhaps this is because Poison Ivy had come by her abilities when her fiancé attempted to kill her using deadly Egyptian herbs. His failure proved to be a method of transformation rather than
destruction and gave her complete immunity to all toxins instead. Since then she has played her poison card on the men that followed.
Strangely enough, if you shifted her personality just six degrees to the left, Poison Ivy could have been a formidable superheroine. She’s passionate about her cause, she’s powerful, and believes in the preservation of life. . . but her imbalanced view of plantkind over all other life makes it impossible to place her anywhere in society appropriate for her beyond the walls of Arkham Asylum and the infamous rogues gallery of the comic industry’s most famous dark-clothed character.
This is just as well for readers who embrace her still today even as Batman has passed the 700-issue mark. You may not see her as often as other villains, but somehow she always manages to come back and give us a sexy and deadly thrill.
If you have never heard of her until reading these words, I trust the seed has now been planted successfully. Go to your local comic shop and scour through the Batman books. She will likely turn up. A word of fair warning though. Some women grow on you and can stay with you for years. Those are the ones to watch out for, especially when they lean in for a kiss.[James Parducci]
James Parducci is the creator of the comic series Nighthunter. He has been published in multiple periodicals and runs his own freelance writing business in San Diego.