Heroes In Crisis was an extremely divisive event. We here at the Revolution were not fans of that event at all. But while the event did not turn out as we had hoped the fact is that it happened. And the aftermath of so many characters important characters dying was something that should be addressed by DC Comics. That is where the new Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy comes. As the one character that was resurrected after accidentally being killed by Wally West, Poison Ivy did not come back the same as she was before she died. Now how will Harley Quinn help Poison Ivy after going through the experience of resurrection? Let’s find out with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1.
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Adriana Melo
Inker: Mark Morales
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: After recaping recent events in their respective lives Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are having lunch together at a mall food court. A kid comments that Poison Ivy is naked, causing Harley to scare the kid and his mom off. Harley then tells Poison Ivy that the kid is right and they should go on a shopping spree.
At a store Harley is getting a bunch of clothes for Poison Ivy to try on. When she goes to the changing room Harley finds Poison Ivy falling apart as she can’t keep up her form. Harley gathers Poison Ivy up and rushes out of the mall.
While driving them home Harley thinks how she and Poison Ivy needed time to figure out Poison Ivy’s new body in a quiet place. Though Harley can’t shake the feeling their quiet suburb life won’t stay that way for long.
Back home Harley finds a special box that Lex Luthor gave her for Poison Ivy to use several weeks ago.
In her room Poison Ivy has regained her form. Harley comes into the room and shows Poison Ivy the box that Lex gave her. When they open the box they find fertilizer inside that has some special property that Poison Ivy ends up liking. Seeing Poison Ivy smile makes Harley happy enough to give her the rest, hoping it helps her friend.
Harley goes to her room and vents how Lex likely doesn’t think of herself as a bad guy. She then reflects on how the Justice League don’t view her as mass murderer. She then wonders how it all went wrong.
Back in Poison Ivy’s room, Poison Ivy tries to get some rest. As she does that one of her plants envelops her. Another plan in the room then starts acting oddly as well.
The next morning Harley is shocked to find Poison Ivy back in her original form. Poison Ivy theorizes that the fertilizer Lex gave them help stabilize her appearance. She then mentions that she needs time to grow back to her original power level.
Poison Ivy then says that they should think about moving as she feels like a wild animal in a stuck in a zoo in their current place. Harley says that unfortunately the world is currently broken and they won’t have fun in it. Harley then suggests that they try being heroes for real this time.
Suddenly the plant Poison Ivy has been using grows into a tree. The tree then attacks Harley and she apologizes by saying she was joking. Poison Ivy reveals she isn’t controlling the tree as it is also attacking her.
The front door to the house explodes and two plant creatures show up. Harley mentions this is looking more like a Poison Ivy-thing. Poison Ivy says those creatures aren’t hers.
Suddenly The Floronic Man appears and reveals he is in control of the creatures and tree that are attacking Harley and Poison Ivy. The Floronic Man reveals he is there because the power in the green is shifting and it is now his to command.
Poison Ivy tells the Floronic Man that the Parliament of Flowers did not choose him to be their champion. The Floronic Man says that is correct because he has claimed that title. He goes on to say that now Poison Ivy is strong enough to be of use to him. End of issue.
The Good: With Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 Jody Houser sets up what this series will be about, at least initially. In the process Houser also sets up the motivation for both Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Given what both characters have been through in the last year there was a bit of a reset needed for them. That is exactly what they get a chance to have with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1.
The biggest selling point for this series is the dynamic between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. These two long time friends and girlfriends have had their relationship spotlighted in various other Batman comics. And as shown in the “Everyone Loves Ivy” story arc that took place in Batman #41, Batman #42 and Batman #43 there is a ton of untapped potential in seeing these two together on an ongoing basis.
That potential is what Houser taps into. Even with Poison Ivy’s character having a big reset because of the events of Heroes In Crisis there is a good back and forth between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy that was immediately established. Houser shows that these two balance each other quite well as Harley Quinn is loud, energetic one while Poison Ivy is more of the calm, collective type.
In establishing who each of them are we get to explore the ramifications of Heroes In Crisis. For as divisive as that event was Houser needed to address what happened to Poison Ivy. The way she address that is very well handled as she gave weight to Poison Ivy’s resurrection.
Being resurrected should not just be a plot device. It needs to mean something to the character. And that is what we see with how Poison Ivy acted early on in this issue. She was clearly not the same person as she was before the events of Heroes In Crisis. There was a deep scar that Poison Ivy had that still needed healing.
Which is where Harley Quinn’s character truly shines throughout this issue. This is by far the most relatable Harley Quinn has ever been. We can all understand where Harley Quinn was coming from as she was deeply concerned about Poison Ivy’s current state. She knew that Poison Ivy wasn’t the same anymore. To Harley’s credit she was clearly doing everything in her power to help Poison Ivy out.
This all solidified the strong foundation that is set with the chemistry that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy have. Both will help each other out and won’t abandon one another no matter where they are in their lives. Now that Poison Ivy is back in her original form Houser can explore more of where their relationship has been and see what kind of adventures they will have. Especially if we see them both go through with Harley’s suggestion of trying to actually be superheroes instead of teetering between hero and villain as they have been the last decade.
It’ll also be interesting to see where Houser goes with developing Poison Ivy’s power level. When it comes to Poison Ivy her power level have always depended on the need of the writer. It has gone simply controlling plants to an almost God-like level of being able to use plants to control event Superman and Wonder Woman. With this reset to Poison Ivy’s power level it’ll give Houser the chance to set a new standard for her power level now.
On that note, having Floronic Man as the first villain that Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy fight is a good test for them. The villain has a direct connection to Poison Ivy’s powers. And with the Floronic Man it gives Houser the opportunity to further explore the whole Green concept that has been established since New 52 with various characters, including Poison Ivy. How Floronic Man challenges all that could also position him to be a bigger threat down the line beyond this story.
Adriana Melo does a very good job complimenting Houser’s story with her artwork throughout Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1. Melo provides a very fun tone that captures the animated designs of both characters. Having this issue filled with color, thanks to the inking of Mark Morales and coloring of Hi-Fi, helps bring a different energy to this series compared to the other Batman books. It is appropriate for both Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, especially with the range of emotions both characters go through during the course of this issue.
The Bad: The one part of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 that was slightly disappointing was that Houser quickly takes out the new form Poison Ivy took on. The new design that Poison Ivy had was so unique. It went away from her simply looking like a woman who was painted green. She looked as though she had a deeper connection to the plants with her new look. There could’ve been more time spent with exploring what Poison Ivy’s new form meant for her before getting her back to her iconic look.
What really made the quick change a disappointment was how it was done. Houser simply used the Year of the Villain overarching storyline to give the series a deus ex machina to get Poison Ivy to her iconic look. It just came across as a cheap way to undo the change Poison Ivy went through. There could’ve been a better way to do this that connected to Poison Ivy’s connection to the Green to get this done. Instead it was simply because Lex Luthor gave Harley Quinn a present that fixed Poison Ivy. It just came across as Houser using a cheat code more than anything else.
Overall: Jody Houser and Adriana Melo did everything you can ask for with a first issue to get a new series off to a good start with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1. Houser does a great job in building the foundation of this series around the relationship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Their strong chemistry is what will drive this series forward, as proven by the success in this issue.
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