Well, it’s once again time to look at the adventures of Doctor Pamela Isley and her adorable plant ba-…Uh, I guess they’re teenagers now. Yeah, this is Poison Ivy #5.
So, right off the bat, let’s get this out of the way: I wasn’t exactly blown away by this issue. It didn’t piss me off like, say, issue 3 did, but it wasn’t really anything outstanding. We see the babies have grown into teenagers since their genetics are making them age faster than humans, and naturally, as all mutant teens are wont to do, they decide to sneak out one night so they can see the world outside their home. Nothing really wrong with that plot for this issue, just that I’ve seen it done before, and nothing about this scenario really grabbed me as anything different…well, save for one point: Ivy. See, the stuff with the teenagers is all stuff I’ve seen before in other stories. However, through thought balloons and body language, it’s pretty clear to me that Ivy is now realizing that she didn’t think this plan all the way through. While we’ve seen her in a protective and sort-of maternal scenario before, this is her quite literally being a mother, something that is completely new to her. And, as any first-time parent does, she makes mistakes and acknowledges that maybe she didn’t think everything through. To be fair, though, she probably wasn’t planning to keep three teenagers in that one loft and might’ve had long-term plans to move them to someplace at least a little bigger while teaching them over a longer course of time how important it was not to draw attention to themselves. So yeah, everything’s accelerated faster than she had plans for, and she hasn’t had the time to get everything squared away right…and it was right after realizing this that I came to the conclusion that that’s not just a problem for Ivy, but for this story in general.
This story is a 6-issue miniseries that is tackling multiple plot threads all at once: The murder mystery, the kids’ development, Ivy’s issues with becoming a mother, as well as looking at her own sense of morality and stability, the incorporation of Darshan and the other two Gotham City Sirens as side-characters, and so on. Y’know, I’d heard people suggest that Swamp Thing or Batman were going to cameo in this book, and honestly, while it’d be awesome to see either one (I actually thought for sure that’s where we were heading with this issue, in that Batman would have a little chat with Ivy about what’s going on), I feel like it’d bog the story down even more. Even if this was only a 12-issue miniseries, it could STILL manage to balance out and take more time with each of these plots one by one. Instead, because this all has to be resolved in 6 issues, it feels incredibly rushed and crammed in. And you can’t even say “Well, maybe some of these plot threads should’ve been dropped”, since other than maybe not including Selina and Harley, or perhaps dropping Darshan, all of the other plots tie together in a way that, when you take one away, the rest feels a bit hollow. And in regards to the other characters, I’d HATE to drop any of them. The problem is not the story or how many plots are going on at once, but the lack of time given for each one. As such, when Ivy has killed three people so far in this book and then tells the kids “No casualties”, you’re left wondering when she circled back around to the conclusion that killing is bad.
That said, I wanna make it clear that I DO understand why it’s only 6 issues. To be completely blunt, name one person at DC who had any say in what goes on and what makes it to print who wanted to put out a Poison Ivy book before the demand for it started. Now, while I can’t say that for a fact, and of course someone could pipe up and say they wanted to do so NOW, my guess is that the answer to this question is zero. And I’m not even saying that as any kind of negative comment toward DC. I’m just saying, no one in charge had it in their minds to do it. People who work for them probably did, but when it came to anyone who could actually give the green light for that? Notta. Then the Poison Ivy League started making a bit more noise, and when people like MTV started giving us attention, that’s when they said “Okay, we’ll do a Poison Ivy book”. However, while they were willing to do so, we’ve seen cases in the past (particularly during the New 52) where characters outside of the norm that people would expect to see have their own books get their own books but then be cancelled rather quickly due to low sales. So, I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility, nor as anything unreasonable, for them to decide to do a miniseries, and after that, if demand is still high, and the mini sold well, THEN they’ll do a monthly. So, for those wondering why we haven’t seen solicits for a Poison Ivy book as part of DC Rebirth, the reason is likely because they’re waiting for all six issues (and probably the trade, since there are people who simply cannot or will not get the individual issues) to be released and sold and then look at how they did before announcing anything, so don’t be surprised if we don’t get a full monthly until sometime next year.
So, that’s the situation. I get why it’s a 6-issue mini, and why we couldn’t get a full series right away, and how there was really no way to do this story under these conditions that wouldn’t result in this or any other sort of problem with the book. And I’m not pointing fingers at anybody for any issues with the book, either. Everybody, from Amy Chu, to the Manns, to everybody else that has had a hand with the book, I am perfectly willing to give the benefit of the doubt to and suggest they’re all at least TRYING to make this work. And it IS still an enjoyable story, despite these flaws, and I’m looking forward to the climax, albeit with a bit of fear as to how they decide to wrap this up. I’m just saying that it’s unfortunate that the current situation is preventing it from being even better. But, as the old saying goes, beggars can’t be choosers, and there WAS a lot of begging for this book.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on this issue. Got a different opinion? Feel free to leave it in the comments below, and let’s hope the final issue next month proves to be a satisfying conclusion…especially since it’s the last individual comic I’ll be buying regularly, since I’m switching over to the trades to save money. Ja né!