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Off The Rack Comic Review: Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn

February 9, 2020 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Harley Quinn Poison Ivy
5.5
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Off The Rack Comic Review: Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn  

My podcast got blocked on Twitter by Dan Slott!

This isn’t something I take any pride in, so this isn’t like some kind of stupid brag. I’ve seen folks who take getting blocked by a famous person as a badge of honor, and that has never ever been our goal. I’m actually mildly bothered by this!

Mostly because I have no idea what we have done to deserve getting blocked by him. I was not even aware we were blocked until a friend shared something Slott posted, and I saw we could not read it. So who knows how long it had been in effect.

For transparency’s sake… none of us really like Slott’s work, especially in regards to his tenure on Spider-Man. But we weren’t interacting with him on Twitter or posting “at” him or DMing him or anything. We just would give our honest opinion on the show about what we thought of him. We did a list of the ten worst things to ever happen to Spider-Man, and I think “Dan Slott” was #2. But I’m not sure we ever mentioned him at all on Twitter!

So the only obvious answer is that Dan Scott is a fan of our show! Or was (whatever). Thanks for listening, Mr. Slott!

The funny thing is: we have been critical, but not disrespectful. So when we would talk about a work of Slott’s we didn’t care for, we would say “We are sure he is a great person and we don’t mean to besmirch him as a human being, BUT…”. So we never attacked or insulted him. And then he blocked us at some point!

So we have figured he is probably not a particularly great person, and we no longer feel the need for that preface when discussing his work.

None of this has anything to do with anything! I just wanted to get it off my chest.

TITLE: Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy

Writer and Artist: Jody Houser and Adriana Melo

Publisher: DC

Protagonists: Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn

Antagonists: The Floronic Man, Mad Hatter, others

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy is one of the books created in the wake of Heroes in Crisis to deal with the ramifications of that title. As part of the follow-up of Tom King’s examination on the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on superheroes, the DC Universe was given a reborn Poison Ivy after she was killed in the tragedy at Sanctuary. Partnered up with her faithful Harley Quinn, the two seek to help Ivy cope with her new lease on life.

Ivy, it turns out, isn’t hunky dory in the wake of her rebirth, and she is having a hard time maintaining her form and managing her powers. The pair receive a gift in the form of a special fertilizer from Lexcorp, but even with that assisting the former villain, she continues to struggle to cope mentally.

To help her, Harley convinces Ivy to agree to work towards becoming heroes as they escape from the Floronic Man’s attempts to kill Poison Ivy and claim more dominance over The Green.

One of the key components of this series is that it focuses on the love between Harley and Pamela Isley without being so much lesbian fan service. They are extremely devoted to each other, but Jody Houser uses their reactions and words to display that more than just relying on having the art team draw their bodies squirming together. The burgeoning relationship between the two has always been fun, but it has a lot of times felt more forced to sell books to fifteen year old boys than for story purposes.

Speaking of the art, Adriana Melo’s pencils are… okay. They feel unfinished at points, and sometimes characters bear an expression I can only refer to as “bored” while in life-or-death peril. Everything is bright and crisp and bold, but a lot of panels just feel like they glazed over in a hurry. You can go page-by-page throughout the series and pick out the panels she spent time on perfecting versus the ones that feel rushed like the deadline was looming or they didn’t feel as relevant to her. It’s a shame, and I wonder if her sloppier panels are a stylistic choice or if she was rushing at times. It feels like the latter as a reader.

Harley and Ivy are two characters who haven’t felt like pure villains in forever, and I’d swear Harley at least has considered herself an out-and-out hero before here. Still, the series is that little extra push that shows them measuring out who they are against who they want to be. They reason it’s okay to steal a sports car to replace an old van, for example, because they will use it for heroic purposes.

I’ve only read bits-and-pieces of Swamp Thing, so while I know of The Green and the ideas behind it, it’s not something I’m extremely well-versed on. I’m actually not going to complain about that, though, because it’s nice to see it expanded out into other titles because it’s a powerful bit of DC mythology that shouldn’t feel pigeon-holed in a corner of the universe.

Talking Point: Were you ever blocked by a comic creator or other celebrity on social media? What did you do to cause it?

And while you’re thinking on that, if you want to enjoy more comic book related blogs and a weekly podcast, visit Ghosts of the Stratosphere. Our podcast is full of debates, top ten lists, and comic reviews, and we update daily!

You can also follow us on Twitter, @gotstratosphere for updates!

5.5
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
I wish the art was stronger here because I really like Houser’s dynamic between Ivy and Harley. Nothing feels forced or directionless, and the series seems very much like the logical next step in their development as a duo and as characters. It’s a fun read with some decent stakes.
legend

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Off the Rack, Rob Stewart