All-Star Batman #7
All-Star Batman #7
- Poison Ivy is given new life with an intriguing deeply person story
- Tula Lotay's amazing art and colors
- Emotional backup story
- Snyder's ability to make Duke's fristration palpable
- Ivy's new origin, with ties to Bruce Wayne
- No real linking to explain the aftermath of the Freeze story, and how Batman got to Death Valley
Scott Snyder continues his second story arc “The Ends of the Earth” as Batman goes from one extreme to another and heads to the desert to visit Poison Ivy.
STORY SUMMARY: The virus from the ice core has been released. Batman feels the best hope for a cure lies with Poison Ivy. So, he goes to Death Valley to track her down. It turns out that for the last several years, she has been traveling here to work on one of the oldest trees on Earth, possible one of the fabled “Trees of Life.” Ivy becomes angry and defensive as Batman approaches, snaring him in vines. Batman explains the situation to Ivy, showing her a sample of the virus. He tells her it has infected a young girl who has an experimental garden in the woods. She came out of the woods thirteen hours ago infected. He also explains to Ivy that a strike force that has been tracking Batman is coming to take her down. Batman tells her that he has read her research from when she worked for Wayne Enterprises, and he thinks she is looking for cures. She tells Batman that she was searching for the copse, or Trees of Life, and that when they grew to maturity the first thing the trees produced was pheromones. She tells Batman that Bruce Wayne misunderstood her intentions, but that she also misrepresented them. As she begins to use her pheromones on Batman, he tells her that they have named the disease “Lilly’s Cradle”, after the girl, and she is running out of time, but Ivy counters that she is dead and that they were incinerating her as he arrived. She says that he came to get a cure for everyone, but used the little girl to play to her emotions. As the strike force arrives, Ivy kisses Batman, putting him under her control. She commands him to fight the strike force. As he fights, Batman realizes that he recognizes their tech. They immobilize Ivy with a net and are about to light her on fire, when Batman shoves the flame-wielding soldier out of the way. Ivy escapes the net only to find that the 5,000 year-old tree is burning. Ive screams at Batman to leave, but Batman reveals he was wearing wax lips. He says he was fighting for Ivy and Lilly. It turns out that after her accident, Bruce Wayne set up a scholarship fund in her name. Lilly was one of the first applicants, He apologizes for being too late to save her. Ivy gives him a flower from the tree that can be synthesized into an antidote. Ivy tells him to make sure they do not name the disease after her.
In the backup, Duke is recovering from his wounds suffered at the hands of the Riddler. He is angry with himself and is second guessing his training, despite Batman’s assurances that he will find his way. The confrontation with Darryl is taking it’s toll, and when Alfred goes to serve him breakfast in the morning, he finds his room empty.
MY TAKE: Scott Snyder is continuing his revamp of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, this time focusing on another great villain who has been sparingly used, Poison Ivy. And, as with the precious issues, Snyder adds some intriguing new dimensions to Ivy’s story, choosing to tie her origin to Bruce Wayne, and, by extension, Batman. I love the dichotomy of this story so far, with Batman visiting the coldest place on Earth last issue, and the warmest place on Earth this issue. I also love that Batman has to break out yet another new suit to deal with the harsh conditions. The overarching plot rears it’s head as the same strike team that tracked Batman to the arctic appears again in the desert. I can’t wait to see where this ends up. Snyder’s Ivy is a tragic and nuanced figure, who is simultaneously angry and sympathetic, as seen in both the opening exchange with the shopkeeper, and the last scenes with Batman where she hands over the flower. The only real issue I have is that, unlike the previous arc where we picked up where we left off, there is no linking narration to explain how Batman got out of the arctic, what happened to Freeze and , if he is still infected with the virus he used in the arctic. I am hopeful some of those questions will be answered in time.
Art details on the main story are handled by Tula Lotay, and she is the perfect choice to handle Ivy’s issue. Her Ivy is a great new take on the classic design, but her face has an amazing amount of expression, and periodically, the green veins on her face would serve as a reminder that Ivy is more than just human. Also of note are the beautiful color effect when Ivy uses her pheromone powers. And I love the really cool black and green Batsuit designed for this issue.
The backup story, also by Scott Snyder, with art by Francesco Francavilla, is an intriguing chapter is Duke’s ongoing story. You can fell Duke’s frustration radiating off the page, and it’s great to see Duke exhibit a vulnerability that we are not used to seeing from a member of the Bat-Family. I have no doubt his impulsive flight from Wayne Manor will lead him into trouble. We’ll have to wait and see how he finds his way out.
IN THE END: Scott Snyder keep hitting it out of the park. I am loving how he is breathing new life into some of Batman’s forgotten villains. This was an awesome Ivy story.