WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Batman #41 by Tom King and Mikel Janin, in stores now.
No matter the continuity, Poison Ivy always stands apart from the usual crop of Batman villains. For starters, she’s not a deranged killer, like most of Gotham’s super-powered community. Sure, she’s often depicted as an evil seductress who uses her abilities for her own gain, but aside from the occasional robbery (a girl’s gotta eat), her goals tend to veer more on the noble side of things. After all, Ivy has a special connection with plant life, and she puts the needs of the green ahead of those of the humans who constantly pollute the planet they inhabit.
Ivy’s methods are extreme, yes, but her voice and motive is pure. She is an advocate for the environment in a world that doesn’t seem all too concerned about it. For that reason, she’s recently been portrayed as an anti-hero of sorts, an eco-terrorist who fights for the planet. In this week’s Batman #41, we see Ivy take her environmentally-friendly cause worldwide, to disastrous effect. But, once again, it all comes from a good place.
In Tom King and Mikel Janina’s last collaboration, Bruce Wayne and his newly-minted fiancee Selina Kyle wake from a surreal dream. Bruce instantly realizes what’s happening, which is why he immediately runs to inoculate Selina and himself before further damage can be done. Somehow, in a massive display of power, Ivy has managed to reach everyone person on the planet, and more, take control of them. Now, 7.6 billion people are her puppets, and yes — that includes the Justice League.
In a beatifully illustrated two-page spread by Janin, we learn that everyone, all over the world, has fallen under Ivy’s spell. How she did this remains unclear, even to Batman, but with Ivy’s connection to nature and the fact that trees and plant life cover most of the planet, we can assume that she has reached a new level of power that allows her to tap into plants all over the world. Or perhaps this has always been in her upper power level, but she’s never been pushed hard enough to realize it.
Whatever the cause, Ivy is making her grand move to save the entire planet. She might not be on the side of human life, but she is on the side of life. Her actions resonate greatly, because they come at a time when pollution, over-population and dwindling natural resources are increasing concerns in the current state of the world. Hurricanes are blowing harder and more frequently, it’s snowing in areas where it hasn’t in decades, and extreme weather patterns are becoming alarmingly commonplace.
Ivy has had enough of seeing the planet she loves be reduced to a victim. She aims to fix a broken world, and the reader can kind of see where she is coming from. She might be mind-controlling the entire human race, but perhaps this is the only way for them to actually survive. We’re fairly certain Batman and Catwoman will find a way to stop her next issue, of course, but the question has to be asked — should they?
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