“Everyone Loves Ivy” kicked off to an incredible start. Tom King took Poison Ivy and made her the most dangerous person in the world by having her take over the entire world. With everyone but Batman and Catwoman under her control there is literally no where for the newly engaged couple to run. Things don’t look good when you consider that Poison Ivy has the entire Justice League under her control. With the likes of Superman and Wonder Woman at her command how can Batman and Catwoman hope to even get married, much less save their friends and family. Let’s find out if they can do anything by checking out Batman #42.
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: With Superman watching over the Wayne Mansion, Bruce and Selina Kyle watch the news host gush over the peace and prosperity around the world thanks to everyone being in love.
Watching enough TV, Batman and Catwoman drive out of the Wayne Mansion with Superman flying right behind them. They end up driving to Bat Burger where Catwoman talks about how Poison Ivy should officiate the wedding and give her away.
As Catwoman continues to talk about their wedding they drive over to an unknown person’s house. Batman whispers something in Catwoman’s ears. Superman uses his super hearing to listen in but when he does Batman lets out a loud whistle that knocks the Man of Steel out.
Catwoman is surprised that work. Batman says while Superman can normally control his powers Poison Ivy does not. Suddenly the Flashs (Barry Allen and Wally West) and Kid Flash run in. Catwoman is able to quickly take each one of them down as they run at them.
Batman and Catwoman enter the house with the former asking the old woman Poison Ivy is controlling where the guy is that lives there. Poison Ivy says she was trying to be nice to them.
Next thing we see is Batman and Catwoman hanging over the side of a building with Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern (Jessica Cruz) watching over them. Batman comments on all the vegetables that Poison Ivy is having people from around the world live off of.
He then mentions how it must hurt that Johnny Suntres (the guy Batman was asking about earlier) is allergic to greens. Batman asks Poison Ivy where Johnny is. Poison Ivy, through Superman, tells Batman to be quiet. When Batman doesn’t stop talking Poison Ivy allows her anger to get the best of her and she uses Superman to kill Batman with a single punch.
A little later Catwoman meets Poison Ivy at her vine palace where the villain reveals that she brought Batman back to life by using a mix of magic, science and surgeries. Catwoman asks what she wants with her. Poison Ivy says since she is Catwoman’s maid of honor they might as well be friends.
Poison Ivy and Catwoman go back and forth with what the former has done, with Catwoman comparing Poison Ivy to Mr. Freeze. Poison Ivy talks about what she did during the War of Jokes and Riddles when she didn’t actually have full control of her powers. She goes on to say that now that she does she can do good and be redeemed.
In his hospital room Batman wakes up and is not surprised to find that Poison Ivy is using Harley Quinn to be his doctor. End of issue.
The Good: Batman #42 is a phenomenal continuation of how Tom King kicked off the “Everyone Loves Ivy” arc. Through this second chapter King further emphasized how powerful Poison Ivy is by keeping the story simple. The minimal dialogue we got made the story stronger so when we did get an explanation into Poison Ivy’s motivation its effectiveness was maximized. And calling on one of King’s recent story arcs, “War of Jokes and Riddles,” strengthened what we saw play out.
Throughout Batman #42 King is able to show us how Poison Ivy has complete control of Earth and its population. With Poison Ivy being omnipresent it would have been very easy to get tired of the angle of this story. But while she is omnipresent King is able to make sure we aren’t beaten over the head with her presence. The minimal dialogue King writes for the character allows for this new world order to be fully fleshed out while keeping everything that Poison Ivy says fresh.
King’s writing of Batman and Catwoman’s interactions together is a big factor in getting over this angle of Poison Ivy taking over the entire world. King has such a deep understanding of both characters and their relationship that everything they say comes off as natural. Even when we know that Catwoman is buying Batman time by talking about their wedding and Poison Ivy’s involvement it doesn’t just play for laughs. Instead it further shows how these two work so well together that Catwoman can act as a distraction while Batman figures out what to do next.
And while Poison Ivy did create her perfect version of a utopia King did a good job showing it wasn’t the perfect world for everyone. Batman bringing up how the Johnny Suntres kid is allergic to greens so Poison Ivy would not be able to have him live off her diet for everyone was great kink to the villains utopia. Poison Ivy telling Batman to shut up everytime he brought this fact up made the scene even more intense. It all leading to Poison Ivy losing control and having Superman actually kill Batman was a shocking turn of events.
This lost of control opens how Batman and Catwoman can actually defeat Poison Ivy. Because while Poison Ivy has everyone, including the Justice League, under her control it does not mean she is invincible. Batman and Catwoman showed that with how they were able to defeat Superman, Barry Allen Flash, Wally West Flash and Kid Flash even without any special equipment. Poison Ivy not having full control or understanding of how each meta-humans powers work creates an opening for Batman and Catwoman to overcome all odds, especially with how overconfident Poison Ivy continues to be shown to be.
King also did a great job using the recent “War of Jokes and Riddles” story arc to give further depth to Poison Ivy’s character. King was able to use a throwaway scene between Poison Ivy and Riddler, when the former killed several of Joker’s men without thinking, to get further inside her head. It gave weight to how Poison Ivy now feels like she has full control of her powers, something she did not have during her first year taking on the identity. This character development also further shows how much time has passed in the current DC Universe, specifically with Batman’s world.
Making the entire story look even better was the phenomenal artwork by Mikel Janin. Janin’s artwork is just stunning and perfectly fits with the world taken over by Poison Ivy. He did a great job balancing the calm, controlled attitude Poison Ivy had with how she lost control whenever Batman challenged her new world order. That lost of control was made to look even better when she didn’t realize she was controlling Superman and had the Man of Steel hit Batman with a full-powered punch. That power was nicely balanced out with how smooth Janin drew Catwoman’s movements when she took care of Barry Allen, Wally West and Kid Flash in one swift motion.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman #42 is another incredible chapter in Tom King’s run on this series. King has done an absolutely wonderful job developing Poison Ivy into one of the most powerful characters in the DC Universe. King’s writing of Poison Ivy is well balanced with how Batman and Catwoman interacted with each other and the villain as they try to figure out what to do next. King’s story is given even more depth by the phenomenal artwork that Mikel Janin and June Chung provided Batman #42. If you are a Batman fan “Everyone Loves Ivy” is a must read story arc.