THIS WEEK: Poison Ivy #21 wraps up “The Secret Origin of Pamela Isley.”

Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.

Poison Ivy #21

Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Marcio Takara
Colorist: Arif Prianto
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Artist: Jessica Fong

Over the past two years, Poison Ivy has established itself as one of DC’s most reliably excellent series. Writer G. Willow Wilson has taken an already-compelling character and made her even more fascinating, exploring the complexities of Ivy’s mission and of the way she relates to humanity. Artists Marcio Takara and Arif Prianto have leaned heavily into the more surreal and often horrific elements of the character, making the series a visual standout among DC’s line. This week’s issue of the series concludes a three-part look at Ivy’s origins, a story that builds on previous tellings of who she is and how she came to be in order to stake out new ground for the character.

After two issues delving into the toxic relationship between Pamela and Jason “The Floronic Man” Woodrue, this issue sees Wilson and co. look at the roots (pun always intended) of Ivy’s relationship with the other important man in her adult life: Batman. Ivy’s transformation from graduate student to costumed villain is entertaining to watch, and makes perfect sense in the context of the story the series has been telling. Her interactions with Batman, a character rarely seen or even mentioned in this series before now, are captivating, giving readers her perspective on their earliest meetings and framing the dark knight much differently than in books where he’s the star. It’s a wonderful alternative look at a very familiar character.

Takara and Prianto’s artwork throughout the issue is top-notch as always. Prianto’s work particularly shines in the early pages as Pamela’s connection to The Green is established, with bright colors that seem to radiate light off of the page. It’s an amazing contrast to the drab shipping container and the dark shadows of Gotham that mark the rest of the issue. Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou’s letters complement the visuals well, fitting in without obstructing any of the images or being a distraction to their impact.

If there’s one thing superhero comics love to do, it’s revisit a character’s origin (usually over and over and over again). “The Secret Origin of Pamela Isley” was a refreshing take on that idea, providing new depth for the character, incorporating new bits of continuity from the past few years, and setting some new pieces in place for future stories. It’s a perfect example of what sets Poison Ivy apart from all the other superhero comics on stands today.

Final Verdict: BUY.


  • The new creative team of Josie Campbell and Emanuela Lupacchino take over SHAZAM! with this week’s issue, and the transition is seamless. The two creators, joined by artist Mike Norton, capture the light-hearted tone set by the previous creators’ run, building on previously-established plot elements to interesting and entertaining effect. It was also nice to see Mary Marvel, a character Campbell has worked on frequently of late, as part of this issue’s cast; here’s hoping she sticks around.
  • Writer Kelly Thompson is joined by guest artists Javier Pina and David Lopez for Birds of Prey #8, the second part of a two-parter that finds the Birds undercover as runway models. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds and extremely fun, particularly once the issue’s action kicks in, and if there have to be fill-in artists so Leonardo Romero can work ahead, Pina and Lopez are excellent choices for it.
  • Batman #146 is part 2 of the “Mind Bomb” storyline from Chip Zdarsky, Jorge Jimenez, and Tomeu Morey. The Batman of Zur-En-Arhh, now in the robot Failsafe body, has escalated the war on crime in Gotham while telling everyone he’s the real Batman. There’s no two ways about it: this story is bananas. I’m not sure if it’s ‘fun’ bananas or ‘too much’ bananas, but either way I can’t look away.
  • Superman ‘78: The Metal Curtain #6 concludes the latest movie tie-in miniseries as writer Robert Venditti and artist Gavin Guidry present the final showdown between Superman and the Soviet supersoldier, Metallo. This series has been excellent and its conclusion is no different, capturing the vibe of an ‘80s movie but with a modern storytelling sensibility. Huge shades of Rocky IV here and it works perfectly.

Miss any of our earlier reviews? Check out our full archive!