Poison Ivy, issues #1-10, written by G. Willow Wilson

Image ID: Half of a full page panel of Poison Ivy through the lens of hallucinogenic mushroom spores. There is a a rainbow swirl behind her, her hair is floating up and he  body is covered in plants. A distorted text bubble reads, "Welcome to the sixth mass extinction, boys." The Snapchat captions reads, "Queen" followed  by the heart eyes emoji. End ID.

Poison Ivy is struggling to resist a deadly strain of spores she consumed to enhance her waning powers after her fall from extreme heights of power as Queen Ivy. The first few issues feel very classically “Poison Ivy wants to eradicate humanity for the devastation that we have wrecked upon the environment,” but it is rapidly revealed to be a more complex situation and not only because Ivy seems to be being haunted by her mentor/creator.

Image ID: A single panel shot of Ivy's head in profile. She is lying on her back on the floor and a single tear is tracking down the side of her face. Her speech bubbles read, "I keep making the same mistakes, Jason. Because it's impossible to watch what's happening to the planet and not be furious. And then punish whoever is convenient instead of whoever is responsible." The Snapchat caption reads, "This comic is a shockingly cathartic meditation on climate grief." End ID.

Ivy is grappling with what seems to be her own impending death and powerlessness while using her toxic spore to leave a trail of death and destruction in her wake, except it doesn’t spread the way she expects and she keeps running into people who she ends up caring about. Her initial desire to purge humanity eventually turns into something else as she gets her own personal catharsis and comes to the realization that she isn’t as powerless as she assumed and maybe it isn’t necessary to wipe out all humanity.

It ends up being a very poignant meditation on climate grief from someone who is deeply connected to nature. Ivy transitions from a hopeless mindset that there is nothing humans can do to save the planet except die to finding hope and regeneration in the ability to do smaller scale things that are within her power, like bringing down someone whose business is polluting local crops. Yes, it’s fiction, but I found my own catharsis in reading it, especially coming on the back of my own climate anxieties brought on by an unsettlingly warm winter.

Image ID: Harley Quinn standing in a doorway in a matching red and black crop top and leggings and leather jacket. Her hair is in  blue and pink pigtails that go down past her butt. Her speech bubble reads, "...I got your letters." The Snapchat caption reads, "Fuck that's a great look." End ID.

In addition to her physical struggles with the toxic spores, part of Ivy’s feeling of powerlessness comes from being stripped of the powers associated with her time as Queen Ivy. This event precedes the events of this series, but you are given enough details to get a decent understanding of what happened, including the fact that Harley had something to do with it and this resulted in a falling out.

Fear not, however, there’s a HarlIvy reunion in issue nine and the first six issues are narrated via letters that Ivy has written to Harley. There’s also an incredible amount of other lesbian goings on, including a lesbian orgy in issue 10 in the midst of fake medicine/bullshit environmentalism health and wellness retreat that seems a bit like a parody of Gwennyth Paltrow’s fake medicine/lifestyle brand Goop.

All told, the 2022 “Poison Ivy is a really great series and I would highly recommend heading to your local comic shop to add it to your pull list. Though, as a warning, if you are sensitive to things like parasitic fungus or plant-based body horror, I would recommend proceeding with caution. I do not know when a trade might be coming, but this is my go to site to pick up back issues of comics.

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