Tom King has been on quite a roll with his run on Batman since Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle engagement started. The journey they have taken together has led them to all sorts of places within the DC Universe. There latest adventure during their engagement has led them to be left the only ones not under the control of Poison Ivy in the world. Things have gone from bad to worse for the engaged couple as Poison Ivy used Superman to almost kill Batman while Catwoman visits the villain alone in her vine castle. Can Batman and Catwoman somehow defeat Poison Ivy? Let’s find out with Batman #43.
Writer: Tom King
Artists: Mikel Janin and Hugo Petrus
Colorist: June Chung
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After waking up in a hospital bed Bruce Wayne is not surprised to surrounded by Harley Quinn, Superman, Super-Man and Supergirl under Poison Ivy’s control. Bruce tells Poison Ivy they should’ve both learned from War of Jokes and Riddles that some wars are worth fighting.
In her vine palace, Poison Ivy reminds Catwoman that Selina did not pick a side during the War of Jokes and Riddles. Catwoman says it was her choice not to side with either Joker or Riddler. Poison Ivy reveals that when she sided with Riddler she killed five men and watched as his side killed even more people. Catwoman says she knows what Poison Ivy has been through because she was in a similar spot.
Back in the hospital room Bruce tells Poison Ivy that he knows she is trying to do a good thing but is going about it wrong because she is hurt. Using Superman as a voice, Poison Ivy says Bruce doesn’t know anything and the people of Earth are hurt while she is fine.
In the vine palace Catwoman says Poison Ivy is hurt because she believes she is alone but isn’t really and that she can come back from what she has done. Poison Ivy rolls her eyes and continues to point out how Catwoman didn’t do anything during the War of Jokes and Riddles.
In the hospital room Bruce calls out Harley. Poison Ivy says she is the only one in control. Bruce reminds Poison Ivy that Harley isn’t just anyone as she holds a special place for Poison Ivy that she can’t lose.
As Bruce further pushes Poison Ivy and Harley’s bond Catwoman notices that Poison Ivy is distracted. Catwoman reveals that Poison Ivy being distracted was their plan. Poison Ivy is confused by this. Catwoman suddenly knocks Poison Ivy out and says Batman only has a short window before planes start falling from the sky.
At the hospital room Superman, Super-Man and Supergirl are suddenly unconscious. Harley barely maintains consciousness and when she says “Puddin’” Poison Ivy wakes up.
Bruce grabs Harley and jumps into the Batmobile with her. After putting on his Batman costume Harley wakes up angry to see the Dark Knight. Superman, Super-Man and Supergirl suddenly appear in front of them.
A little later Harley and Batman arrive at the vine castle. Harley asks Poison Ivy how she is doing. Poison Ivy says she is saving the world. Harley asks how Poison Ivy is mentally. Poison Ivy hesitates at first but breaks down and says she is hurt. Harley hugs Poison Ivy and says she is there so they can be hurt together.
Poison Ivy still says she wants to be in control to save everyone. Catwoman tells Poison Ivy to let go of her guilt over killing the five men.
Batman hears this and reveals that Poison Ivy didn’t kill the five men in the past. He goes on to say Riddler actually killed them before he walked in the park with Poison Ivy. He then tells Poison Ivy she is not a villain.
Poison Ivy says she still wants to save the world. Harley understands but says that today they need to save Poison Ivy. As they hug Poison Ivy is in shock that Riddler lied to her.
Sometime later, while in bed, Bruce says that Poison Ivy is safe at Sanctuary. Bruce reflects on what Poison Ivy did and doesn’t know how she will turn out. Selina asks Bruce if they are going to be okay. Bruce says that even with the world against them they save them all and that they are going to be just fine. They then start kissing to close out the issue.
The Good: In the more recent era writers have gone back and forth with portraying Poison Ivy as a hero or villain. The characters popularity, which has been on the rise dating back to the Batman: The Animated Series, has warranted her to get a push similar to Harley Quinn. Though that has been a hard eggshell to crack. But now Tom King has provided Poison Ivy the perfect story to make the push as a hero be the direction for her character moving forward with the conclusion of “Everyone Loves Ivy” in Batman #43.
With “Everyone Loves Ivy” Tom King did a great job using the meeting between Riddler and Poison Ivy and made it something that will be meaningful for the latter’s character development. When it happened during “War of Jokes and Riddles” that scene with Poison Ivy vining up the secret agents came off as something that could be easily forgotten. Instead King used that scene to further delve into what has motivated Poison Ivy since she went down the path of being a villain. Even when she seemed to turn her life around it Poison Ivy could never get rid of the guilt she felt over killing five men. That guilt made it so she would do things that she thought was best even if it painted her in a villainous route just so she could feel redeemed.
On Batman and Catwoman’s side it was good to see that they were able to understand this about Poison Ivy’s character. Throughout their scenes King wrote Batman and Catwoman’s individual conversations with Poison Ivy have an adult tone. Even though Catwoman did end up knocking out Poison Ivy for a bit, King made sure to show that Batman and Catwoman were trying to help the villain the entire time. They both know that at her core Poison Ivy is not a bad person, she is just misguided.
That position Poison Ivy was in made the moment when Batman revealed that Riddler tricked her and that he was the one that actually killed the five men an even more powerful moment. You could see how that revelation took a giant weight off Poison Ivy’s shoulder. It made her break down come off as an important moment as she will now return in a more heroic light the next time she appears. This also creates the opening for an even bigger story involving Poison Ivy seeking to get her revenge on Riddler that could mean even more to whatever path she decides on going on next.
Making Poison Ivy’s character development even better was how Harley Quinn was used to trigger the development. After years of showing how close Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are it was great to see King show how much they mean to each other. Harley being the one that made Poison Ivy fully open up showed how important Harley is to her. And King did a good job balancing how understanding Harley is with the bit of comedy she brought to what was going on.
All of this also helped further show how great of a team Batman and Catwoman are. After literally having the entire world against them Batman and Catwoman showed they could overcome everything. The way they saved the day and helped Poison Ivy overcome her own guilt was great to see. After further displaying how strong their relationship is as they make their way to being married. Now with this established it is time for us to see what Batman and Catwoman have planned for their wedding.
Mikel Janin and Hugo Petrus did a great job making Batman #43 a great looking issue. Until I looked at the credits after reading the issue I did not know we had another artist on this issue other than Janin. Petrus did a great making sure you don’t notice when the change in artist happened. They both gave weight to everything that was going on as Poison Ivy was going through her biggest character development. June Chung deserves an equal amount of the credit as she did a great job making sure the coloring was the same for both Janin and Petrus to maintain the consistency of Batman #43.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Tom King, Mikel Janin and Hugo Petrus did a phenomenal job delivering a meaningful character study for Poison Ivy in Batman #43. There was a great sense of importance in how King developed Poison Ivy’s character as this issue came to a close. How King used Batman, Catwoman and Harley Quinn to help in Poison Ivy’s character development made this issue even stronger. If you are a fan of Batman than “Everyone Loves Ivy” is a must read story arc.