Tom King has been on quite a roll as of late on Batman. With Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s engagement King has taken full opportunity of the story possibilities of this character development. We just saw how both Superman and Wonder Woman reacted to Bruce’s engagement to Selina. That was a great step forward to build the upcoming wedding for the pair. Now things go back to the superhero realm a bit more as Bruce and Selina must deal with the latest plans Poison Ivy has created to take over the world. What are those plans exactly? Let’s find out with Batman #41.
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Colorist: June Chung
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Poison Ivy suddenly shows up in Bruce Wayne’s dreams causing Bruce to wake up in a nervous sweat.
Bruce rushes off to the Batcave but Poison Ivy gets in his head before he can make it to the cave. Alfred checks on Bruce to try to help. Bruce suddenly knocks Alfred out while Poison Ivy continues to mess with his head.
Bruce is able to make it to the Batcave to work on an antidote. Selina finds him there and tries to calm his nerves with a kiss. Selina then suddenly goes to attack him but Bruce acts quickly by giving her an antidote injection. Bruce then injects himself with the antidote and passes out.
Around the world it is shown that Poison Ivy has infected many people including Superman, Wonder Woman and the President and is now in full control of their actions.
In the morning Bruce and Selina wake up to find themselves in their Batman and Catwoman costumes, respectively, without their masks on.
Alfred suddenly walks in and Poison Ivy starts talking through him. Poison Ivy talks about how Joker tried to defeat Superman a few years ago by holding people hostages in lead containers. Superman ended up saving the hostages by finding the locations he could not see through and defeated the Joker.
Batman goes to knock Alfred out so Poison Ivy can stop using him. But before his punch connect the Flash runs in and takes the hit instead.
Poison Ivy tells Bruce to try again since she has a few other Flashes available to her. She then calls Batman “Bruce Wayne,” and reveals that every person in the world in the world love her now. Poison goes on to say that she doesn’t want anything because she now has everything as she sits in her castle made of vines.
Bruce and Selina both say that she does not have them under her control. Poison Ivy remarks that she is impressed with the antidote Bruce created but it won’t do him any good against her new formula. She goes on to say that with her in control of Cyborg and other geniuses around the world she now knows everything.
Poison Ivy then has Alfred walk out while remarking her disappointment that Bruce and Selina can’t be part of how she is going to fix the world.
Now alone Selina wonders how Poison Ivy can control everyone. Bruce says he doesn’t know while contemplating what to do next. End of issue.
The Good: For anyone that ever thought Poison Ivy was a joke villain then you must pick up Batman #41. Tom King does an expert job in building Poison Ivy to be one of the baddest villains in the DC Universe. From beginning to end there was an eerie sensation around each line of dialogue Poison Ivy. That tone made every action Poison Ivy takes an even more incredible feat given that she had such a calm way of talking throughout Batman #41.
Poison Ivy has always been one of the more intriguing Batman villains as her goals make her someone that could be used in a antagonist or protagonist role. Tom King clearly sees that as well and wanted to make Poison Ivy stand out even more among Batman’s Rogue Gallery. This time around King went with the full villain route for Poison Ivy to show what it would be like if she used her powers to its fullest extent. That full powered Poison Ivy was made clear as soon as she appeared on screen as Batman #41 started. There was absolutely no sense that Poison Ivy was holding back this time around and was emphasized as the story moved forward.
Adding to the way Poison Ivy was portrayed so strongly was how calmly King wrote the tone of her dialogue. There was never a moment that Poison Ivy’s focus was broken. She spoke calmly at all times even when Batman and Catwoman angrily responded at everything she revealed about her plans. This calm state of mind made the revelation that Poison Ivy now knows that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same an even bigger moment. Like with the rest of her dialogue Poison Ivy did not make a big deal of learning about Bruce’s true identity. Instead she treated it as just another piece into her knowing everything that will in the end help her accomplish her world conquering goals.
That tone of voice made everything we saw Poison Ivy accomplish by having the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg under her control was even more impressive. King did a good job adding to how Poison Ivy was not messing around this time around by her effortlessly using Flash as a human shield to take Batman’s punch. And the fact that it all took place in Bruce and Selina’s room made how isolated the two are now something that further elevated Poison Ivy as a villain.
The isolation both Bruce and Selina now feel was made even better by the fact that the former does not have an answer for what to do next. Bruce was clearly surprised by Poison Ivy’s latest plot, shown with how he rushed to create an antidote for himself and Selina. In that rush we saw Bruce make a mistake we normally don’t see him make, which is trying to see things from all possible outcomes. That lack of planning leaves you wondering as a reader how Bruce and Selina can even make it out of this situation much less save everyone from Poison Ivy’s control.
Making the entire issue even better was the phenomenal artwork by the returning Mikel Janin. Janin’s artwork was the perfect fit for the tone that King was going for, especially when it comes to the dialogue written for Poison Ivy. There was a calm majesty to the way Poison Ivy was portrayed and Janin captured how the formation of the villain’s vine castle was an exclamation point for how she is in control of everything. Through all of that Janin also nailed how much Bruce and Selina are backed in a corner as they have been completely isolated from the rest of the world at the Wayne Mansion.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman #41 was an absolutely stunning comic book. Tom King and Mikel Janin created a comic book that perfectly capture how confident and terrifying Poison Ivy can be when she is using her full power. Seeing how Batman and Catwoman had no way of fighting back against Poison Ivy’s latest plot elevated Ivy among the villains in Batman’s Rogues Gallery. If you are a Batman fan this is an issue that you do not want to miss out on.