Poison Ivy

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Poison Ivy (Pamela Lillian Isley) is a , DC Comics supervillainess who is primarily an enemy of Batman. Created by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff, she first appeared in Batman #181 (1966#June|June 1966).

Poison Ivy is depicted as one of the world's most prominent eco-terrorism|eco-terrorists. She is obsessed with plants, botany, and environmentalism. She uses toxins from plants and her own bloodstream for her criminal activities, which are usually aimed at protecting the natural environment. She creates potion|love potions that ensnare Batman, Superman, and other strong-willed individuals. Fellow villain Harley Quinn is her recurring partner-in-crime and possibly her only human friend.

Contents

Publication history

The first appearance of Poison Ivy, in Batman#181]]

Following the character's initial appearance, Poison Ivy continued to appear in the various Batman comic book series and had a major role in Suicide Squad and the Black Orchid mini-series. An origin story was later retconned for her.

The character was partly inspired by the short story Rappaccini's Daughter, Batman: The Complete History written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Robert Kanigher has stated that she was originally modeled after Bettie Page.UGO's World of Batman - Gotham Girls: Poison Ivy - BATMAN.UGO.COM Artists such as Jim Lee draw her in a green form-fitting one-piece bathing suit.

character history

Pre-Crisis

Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, a promising botany|botanist from Seattle, Washington|Seattle, is seduced by Marc LeGrande into assisting him with the theft of an Ancient Egypt|Egyptian artifact containing ancient herbs. Fearing she would implicate him in the theft, he attempts to poison her with the herbs, which are deadly and untraceable. She survives this murder attempt and discovers she has acquired an immunity to all natural toxins and diseases.World's Finest Comics #252

Post-Crisis: Life in Seattle and Gotham

Post-Crisis, her origins were revised in Shadow of the Bat Annual #3. Pamela Isley grows up wealthy with emotionally distant parents. She later studies advanced botanical biochemistry at a university with Alec Holland under Dr. Jason Woodrue. Isley, a timid, shrinking violet, is easily seduced by her professor. Woodrue injects Isley with poisons and toxins as an experiment, causing her transformation.Swamp Thing Chronology She nearly dies twice as a result from these poisonings, driving her insane. Later Woodrue flees from the authorities, leaving Isley in the hospital for six months. Enraged at the betrayal, she suffers from violent mood swings, being sweet one moment and like poison the next. When her boyfriend has a car accident after mysteriously suffering from a massive fungus|fungal overgrowth, Isley drops out of school and leaves Seattle, eventually settling in Gotham City.Legends of the Dark Knight #43

She begins her criminal career by threatening to release her suffocating spores into the air unless the city meets her demands. Batman, who appears in Gotham that very same year, thwarts her scheme, and she is incarcerated in Arkham Asylum.Shadow of the Bat Annual #3 (Before this revised origin, she was not deemed insane and did not go to Arkham until several years into her criminal career.) From this point on, she has a kind of obsession with Batman, he being the only person she could not control. Over the years, she develops plant-like superpowers, the most noticeable being a lethal toxin in her lips; she is able to literally kill with a kiss.

In subsequent issues, she states that she only started a life of crime to attain sufficient funds to find a location to be alone with her plants, undisturbed by humanity. A few years later, she attempts to leave Gotham forever, escaping Arkham to settle on a desert island in the Caribbean. She transforms the barren wasteland into a second Garden of Eden|Eden, and is, for the first time in her life, happy. It is soon firebombed, however, when an American-owned corporation tests their weapons systems out on what they think is an abandoned island. Ivy returns to Gotham with a vengeance, punishing those responsible. After being willingly apprehended by Batman, she resolves that she can never leave Gotham, at least not until the world was safe for plants. From then on, she dedicates herself to the impossible mission of "purifying" Gotham.Batman: Poison Ivy

At one point, Batman travels to Seattle to ascertain information on Pamela Isley's life before she became Poison Ivy. Here, Batman states that both of Pamela's parents are dead. When and why they died has been left undetermined.

While in Arkham, Poison Ivy receives a message through flowers that someone is to help her escape. That night, two women, Holly and Eva, successfully break Ivy out and bring her back to their employer. She is less than happy to discover that it is the Floronic Man, formerly known as Dr. Jason Woodrue, her former college professor that conducted the experiments on her. The only human portion of him remaining is his head, while the rest of his body is plant-based.

After striking a deal with him in the underground tunnels of Gotham, Ivy receives a trunk full of money in return for samples of her DNA. Woodrue intends to combine their DNA to create a "child", all while flooding the streets of Gotham with high-powered cannabis (drug)|marijuana. The purpose of this is to create a world economy run on hemp and to have their offspring control it. Batman intervenes, but is overcome by Woodrue's henchwomen, Holly and Eva. However, Ivy turns on Floronic Man and lets Batman go to fight the intoxicated maniac. In the end, Batman decapitates the Floronic Man, and Ivy escapes with her money. Batman: Shadow of the Bat #56-58

At times, Ivy demonstrates positive, even maternal traits. When Gotham City is destroyed in an earthquake, rather than fight over territory like most of Batman's enemies, she holds dominion over Robinson Park and turns it into a tropical paradise. Sixteen children who are orphaned during the quake come to live with her, as she sympathizes with them, having suffered a Psychological trauma|traumatic childhood herself.Secret Files 1998 She cares for them like sons and daughters, despite her usual misanthropy.

Ivy and her orphans imprisoned in Clayface's mud.
Ivy and her orphans imprisoned in Clayface's mud.

That winter, Clayface (Basil Karlo) pays Ivy a visit, hoping to form a bargain with her. This would entail her growing fruits and vegetables, having the orphans harvest them, and him selling the produce to the highest bidder. She wants nothing to do with the plan, and she attempts to kill him with a kiss. Clayface overpowers her, however, and imprisons Ivy and the orphans for six months in a chamber under the park's lake. He feeds her salt and keeps her from the sun to weaken her. Eventually, Batman comes and discovers the imprisoned orphans and Ivy. The two agree to work together to take Karlo down. Batman battles Clayface and instructs Robin to blow up the lake bed above, allowing the rushing water to break apart the mud, effectively freeing Ivy. She fights Karlo, ensnaring him in the branches of a tree and fatally kissing him. She then proceeds to sink him down into the ground, where he becomes fertilizer for Ivy's plants. Batman, originally intending to take the orphans away from Ivy, recognizes that staying with her is what is best for them, and they remain in her care until the city is restored. Also, as part of a bargain to keep her freedom, Batman arranges it so that Ivy provides fresh produce to the starving hordes of earthquake survivors.Shadow of the Bat #88, Detective Comics #735 Soon after, Ivy finds Harley Quinn, who had almost been murdered by the Joker, among the debris of the earthquake and nurses her back to health. The two have been best friends and partners-in-crime ever since.Batman: Harley Quinn

After Gotham City is reopened to the public, the city council wants to evict her from the park and send her back to Arkham Asylum, as they are uncomfortable with the thought of a "psychosis|psychotic eco-terrorist controlling the equivalent of 30-odd square blocks". They also mistakenly believe that the orphans in Ivy's care are hostages. The Gotham City Police Department threaten to spray the park with R.C. Sixty, a powerful herbicide that most certainly would have killed every living plant in the park, including Ivy, and more than likely do harm to the children. Ivy refuses to leave the park to the city and let them destroy the paradise she had created, so she chooses martyrdom. It is only after Rose, one of the orphans, is accidentally poisoned by Ivy that the hardened eco-terrorist surrenders herself to the authorities in order to save the girl's life. Batman says that, as much as she would hate to admit it, Ivy is still more human than plant.Detective Comics #751-752

Later on, she and other Gotham characters are manipulated by the Riddler and Hush. Her task is to hypnosis|hypnotize both Superman and Catwoman; however, she abandons Catwoman to be killed by Killer Croc, and Batman is able to keep Superman busy in a fight long enough for the Man of Steel to break out of the spell. Soon afterwards, the Riddler, who is being chased and attacked by Hush, approaches Ivy and seeks her protection. Ivy, who is angered by the manipulation, battles the Riddler physically and psychologically. She comes to physically dominate her opponent, humiliating Riddler and temporarily breaking his spirit.Detective Comics #797-799

Poison Ivy comes to believe that her powers are killing the children she had looked after, so she seeks Bruce Wayne's help to reverse her powers and make her a normal human being once more. Soon after, she is convinced by Hush to take another serum to restore her powers and apparently dies in the process. However, when her grave is visited shortly thereafter, it is covered with ivy, creating the impression her death would be short-lived.

Shortly after, Poison Ivy appears briefly in Robinson Park, killing two corrupt cops who killed one of her orphans (although whether this takes place before or after the aforementioned storyline is unknown).

"One Year Later", Ivy is alive and active. Her control over flora has increased, referred to as being on a par with Swamp Thing or Floronic Man. She also appears to have resumed her crusade against the corporate enemies of the environment with a new fanaticism, regarding Batman no longer as a main opponent, but as a 'hindrance'.

After arriving back from a year-long absence, Batman discovers that Ivy has been feeding people including "tiresome lovers", "incompetent henchmen", and those who "returned her smile" to a giant plant which would digest the victims slowly and painfully. She refers to these murders as a "guilty pleasure". In an unprecedented event, her victims' souls merge with the plant, creating a botanical monster called Harvest, who seeks revenge upon Ivy. With the intervention of Batman, however, she is saved. Ivy is left in critical condition, and the whereabouts of Harvest are unknown.

In Countdown 37, the Piper and the Trickster are hiding out in a greenhouse, picking fruits and vegetables from the plants. They run into Ivy, who is talking to her plants (presumably being told that Piper and Trickster hurt them), to which she reacts by tying them up in vines with the intention of killing them. She is then shown to have joined the Injustice League Unlimited and is one of the villains featured in Salvation Run

The cover of DC Universe Special - Justice League of America shows Poison Ivy as a member of Libra's Secret Society of Super Villains.

Teams and alliances

Poison Ivy is a member of the original Injustice Gang of the World, which fights the Justice League on several occasions. Justice League of America #111,143,158

She joins the Secret Society of Super Villains for a mission against the Justice League. Secret Society of Super-Villains #10; Special She later joins Lex Luthor's incarnation of the Society.

She is coerced into being a member of the Suicide Squad. During this time, she uses her abilities to enslave Count Vertigo. Suicide Squad Vol. 1 #33-37,39,41,43,46-47,58-59,64-66

She is friends with the Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn. Unlike most villain team-ups, their partnership seems to be genuinely rooted in friendship, and Ivy sincerely wants to save Harley from her abuse|abusive relationship with the Joker. Ivy sympathizes with Harley, as Harley is mistreated by the man she loves, just as Ivy was by Jason Woodrue. She has expressed disdain for the Joker, primarily due to his treatment of Harley. Batman Adventures #16

Despite having different motivations than the rest of Batman's rogues gallery, Ivy is not above forming alliances with the other villains if it suits her goals.Batman: Dark Victory Batman: The Last Arkham

Powers and abilities

Poison Ivy placing a toxic kiss on Bruce Wayne.
Poison Ivy placing a toxic kiss on Bruce Wayne.

The dangerous experiments placed a deliberate overdose of plant and animal based toxins into her blood stream that make her touch deadly and allowed her to boost her immunity to all poisons, viruses, bacteria, and fungus|fungi. This immunity also includes Joker venom.Harley Quinn #13 Some comics have even gone so far as to depict her as more plant than human, breathing carbon dioxide|CO and requiring sunlight to survive.

Ivy is known to be able to seduce men and women alike, often using pheromones to do so; she is even able to use these to control Superman, although she requires kryptonite for them to work. Superman/Batman #19

She specializes in hybrids and can create the most potently powerful toxins in Gotham City. Often these toxins are secreted from her lips and administered via a kiss. They come in a number of varieties, from mind-controlling drugs to instantly fatal necrotics.

In some adaptations, she can control plants with her mind. For example, while in Arkham, she is able to manipulate and animate plants, using roots to form supports for a tunnel she and another inmate named Magpie are digging to escape, and also spawning glowing fungi to entertain Magpie.Arkham Asylum: Living Hell

Poison Ivy is identified by the Swamp Thing as a being with an elemental mystical component, who he calls the 'May Queen'.Black Orchid Vol. II, 1988 Writers have not referred to her in this way in quite some time.

In Batman: The Animated Series, her only physical power is an immunity to poison, and when using a poisoned kiss, she uses lipstick poisoned by toxins extracted from a plant. She admits to having a "hyperactive immune system" which prevents her from having children. In The Batman, she can even exhale mind-controlling spores in the form of a blown kiss.

Bibliography

Poison Ivy has made sporadic appearances in numerous comic book series since her creation, most frequently in Detective Comics and Batman. Other appearances have included Batgirl, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Legends of the Dark Knight, Gotham Central, and Batman: Gotham Knights. The character also held a co-starring role in other DC books such as Suicide Squad and the Harley Quinn series under Karl Kesel. One-shots have also been written about the character, including Ann Nocenti's Batman & Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows and John Francis Moore's Batman: Poison Ivy.

The animated incarnations of the character have appeared in numerous comic book spin-offs of Batman: The Animated Series and The Batman. These include The Batman Adventures, Batman and Robin Adventures, Batman: Gotham Adventures, Gotham Adventures, Justice League Adventures, Gotham Girls, Harley and Ivy, and The Batman Strikes!. Poison Ivy was featured as a main character in both Gotham Girls and Harley and Ivy.

Creators who have repeatedly utilized and developed the character include Greg Rucka, John Francis Moore, Karl Kesel, John Ostrander, Neil Gaiman, Jeph Loeb, and Paul Dini.

In other media

Poison Ivy never made any appearances in other media prior to her debut in the fifth episode of Batman: The Animated Series, "Pretty Poison", in 1992. The series popularized the character to the point of being featured as a main villain in the live action film Batman and Robin in 1997.

DC animated universe

Poison Ivy as she appears in Batman: The Animated Series.
Poison Ivy as she appears in Batman: The Animated Series.
In the DC animated universe, Poison Ivy was voiced by Diane Pershing. The initial character design for Poison Ivy in Batman: The Animated Series was provided by artist Lynne Naylor, who also helped design nearly all of the other female characters for the show. She drew Ivy to look distinctly different from the rest of the female characters, giving her a softer, cherub-shaped face.Batman Animated Bruce Timm mentioned in his audio commentaries that Ivy was meant to look shorter than the other recurring female villains and that her appearance was meant to evoke the image of a "wood nymph".

Batman: The Animated Series

Her first appearance, in Batman: The Animated Series, involved an assassination attempt on Harvey Dent, as retribution for construction over the last habitat of a rare flower.In the earlier days of the animated series, her metahuman characteristics, such as her immunity to toxins, were stated on many occasions, portraying her as a human with an extreme affinity for plants. She mentions in "House and Garden", in which she ostensibly reforms, that her unique condition has left her infertility|unable to bear children. This episode was her final appearance in the show as a main villain.

The New Batman Adventures and beyond

The New Batman Adventures version of Poison Ivy. Cover to Gotham Girls #2. Art by Shane Glines.
The New Batman Adventures version of Poison Ivy. Cover to Gotham Girls #2. Art by Shane Glines.

In the second series, she was aesthetically revamped to look more plant-like, her skin turning grayish-white. Ivy also became more humorous and seductive in personality, coinciding with her genuinely friendly relationship with Harley Quinn. Her fanatical mindset regarding the despoiling of plants and the ecosphere was also greatly reduced. She supposedly dies in a shipwreck in the episode "Chemistry". She apparently survives the shipwreck and returns in several spin-off series, including Static Shock, and the Gotham Girls web-toon, in which she held a co-starring role. The character also co-starred in the three-issue comic book miniseries Harley and Ivy, and was given her swan song in the critically acclaimed Batman Adventures comic book series, which contains stories about Batman's adventures in Gotham City after a break from the Justice League.

Justice League

In the episode "A Better World", on the Justice League series, Poison Ivy appears only once, in a lobotomized form in an alternate universe. She is a prisoner at Arkham Asylum, and she is also allowed to work as the prison's gardener. Bruce Timm stated that he had turned down pitches for Poison Ivy episodes on Justice League so they could focus on new characters and storylines, only bringing back a minimal number of villains from previous shows.[http://jl.toonzone.net/jlvillains/jlvillains.htm The Villains of the Justice League.

Batman & Robin (1997 film)

Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin.
Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy in Batman & Robin.

Uma Thurman played Poison Ivy in the film Batman and Robin. In the movie, Pamela Isley is shown researching in a South American lab, where she discovers the theft of certain plant toxins from her lab. Investigating, she discovers her boss, Jason Woodrue, offering up Bane, a soldier enhanced by toxin-derived chemicals, to various bidders. Bane lashes out, and Isley is revealed in the fracas. Woodrue asks her to join him, but when she declines, he kills her by throwing her into a shelf full of chemicals. Isley rises moments later, having been infused with the plant chemicals that she was thrown into, killing Woodrue and escaping the burning camp with Bane. Soon after, she appears in Gotham using both identities, Isley and Ivy, sparking friction between Batman and Robin — Robin proving more susceptible to her pheromones than Batman and thus becoming easily jealous — and breaks the recently imprisoned Mr. Freeze out of Arkham to form an alliance. Believing she is the dominant woman, she unplugs his wife's life-support system and claims that Batman did it, using this to encourage Freeze to begin a plan to freeze the entire Earth and then replace human life with her mutated plants, the two of them serving as the rulers. However, although she captures Batman and Robin with her plants, she is defeated by the new Batgirl, her deception subsequently being revealed to Freeze in Arkham.

The Batman

Poison Ivy in The Batman.
Poison Ivy in The Batman.

Piera Coppola voiced Poison Ivy in the animated TV show, The Batman, complete with a new origin and rose-like hairstyle and dress, and with stronger ties to Barbara Gordon. In this incarnation, Poison Ivy is a highschool student and environmentalism|environmental activist, and Barbara Gordon's best friend. She convinces Barbara to help her with her "protests," which were actually scouting missions on pollution|polluting companies for her hired mercenary, the corporate saboteur Temblor. She uses a voice scrambler in order to recruit Tremblor to carry out her missions of ecoterrorism. During one such mission, a plant mutagen (referred to as "chlorogene") falls on her during a battle between Temblor and the Batman. She awakes in an ambulance afterward and manifests powers similar to her other incarnations, most notably psionic plant control, and an ability to exhale mind-controlling spores when she blows a kiss at her desired target. She swiftly turns her powers to furthering her eco-terrorism|ecoterrorist career, before being stopped by Batman and Barbara in her debut as Batgirl. In the fifth season premiere, she is forced into helping Lex Luthor take control of Superman by using her mind-controlling spores, and lacing them with kryptonite dust.


Video games

Poison Ivy has appeared in most of the Batman video games over the years. She appeared as a boss in Batman: The Animated Series, The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System|Super NES, The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Sega Mega-CD|Sega CD, Batman: Chaos in Gotham, the video game adaptation of the movie Batman & Robin, Batman Vengeance and Batman: Dark Tomorrow. In most of these games Ivy does not fight Batman directly and usually watches in the background while Batman fights one of her plant monsters. In The Adventures of Batman & Robin for the Sega CD and Batman: Vengeance, Diane Pershing reprised her role from Batman: The Animated Series.. In late June 2008 it was reavealed in a Batman comic that she will be a playable character in the LEGO Batman video game.

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