Super of the Week: Poison Ivy

She’s green and she’s bad. We’re talking about Harley Quinn’s BFF and occasional lover, Poison Ivy!

This week’s Super of the Week revolves around Poison Ivy, the Batman villain, Harley Quinn’s best friend and a woman who can control plants. She’s been a love interest to Batman and is seen to work with Catwoman and her BFF. In most recent comic stories, Ivy has been deemed an antiheroine and an eco-warrior or in her eyes, an eco terrorist. We prefer to think of her as a meta-human who loves plants and thinks of them as her babies. 

Full Name:

  • Pamela Lillian Isley (post-Crisis)
  • Lillian Rose (pre-Crisis)

Nickname(s): 

  • Ivy
  • Ive (Harley Quinn series only)

Alias(es):

  • Poison Ivy
  • Paula Irving

Comic Book Franchise: DC Comics

Creator(s): Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff

First Appearance(s): Batman #181 (June 1966)

Allies:

  • Harley Quinn
  • Suicide Squad
  • Birds of Prey
  • Gotham City Sirens

Powers/Abilities:

  • Trained Botanist
  • Secretion of floral toxins and mind-controlling pheromones
  • Immunity to toxins and pathogens
  • The ability to mentally control the growth of plants via connection to the Green.

Family:

Wealthy parents

Friend(s):

  • Harley Quinn (best friend)
  • Catwoman

Team(s):

  • Birds of Prey
  • Gotham City Sirens
  • Injustice Gang
  • Injustice League
  • Suicide Squad
  • Secret Society of Super Villains
  • S.T.A.R. Labs

BIOGRAPHY

There is so much to Poison Ivy’s life that we never considered. While were researching, we found she had two seperate names. One served as her pre-Crisis identity while the other came Post-Crisis. We thought we’d talk about both here. It’s fascinating to find all this stuff out that we didn’t know before about the iconic villain.

Pre-Crisis

There is so much to Poison Ivy’s comic book origin that we weren’t even aware of. Prior to Crisis on Infinite Earths, Poison Ivy was known as Doctor Lillian Rose, M.D. She was a botanist who assists Marc LeGrande in stealing an Egyptian artefact which contained ancient herbs.

LeGrande, terrified that Rose would dob him in, attempts to poison her with the same herbs they’d stolen. His plan ultimately backfires and she learns, via her survival that she’d developed immunity to every type of poison and toxin.

Post-Crisis

After the maxi event Crisis on Infinite Earths, Poison Ivy’s backstory was retconned by Neil Gaiman in Secret origins #36 in 1988. It was here that her true name was Doctor Pamela Isely, PhD a botanist in Gotham City. In this version of her origin, she had wealthy, yet distant parents.

Interestingly, Isely pursued a career in advanced botanical biochemistry and would work with Alec Holland would later become Swamp Thing). Meanwhile, she is seduced by her mentor due to her shyness and is injected with toxins and poisons. Fortunately, this triggers her transformation into what we know her to be now.

Isley begins her time as a criminal by threatening to unleash spores if her demands are not met. She also develops an unhealthy obsession with Batman. before he has her locked up in Arkham Asylum.

PAST MEDIA APPEARANCES

Poison Ivy has appeared in a lot of media

Some of Poison Ivy’s past appearances include:

  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Batman (1966 live action series)
  • The New Batman Adventures
  • Static Shock
  • Gotham Girls
  • Justice League (animated series)
  • The Batman (animated series)
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Young Justice
  • DC Superhero Girls
  • Justice League Action
  • Batman & Robin
  • The LEGO Batman Movie
  • Batman and Harley Quinn

RECENT MEDIA APPEARANCES

  • Harley Quinn (animated series)
  • Batman: Hush
  • Gotham (as Ivy “Pamela” Pepper)
  • Gotham by Gaslight

PORTRAYALS – LIVE ACTION

  • Uma Thurman (first live action version of Pamela Isely – Batman & Robin)
  • Clare Foley, Maggie Geha and Peyton List as Ivy Pepper/Poison Ivy – Gotham)

PORTRAYALS – ANIMATION

  • Vanessa Marshall (various projects)
  • Lake Bell (Harley Quinn)
  • Alyssa Milano (Young Justice)
  • Diane Pershing (Batman: The Animated Series)
  • Piera Coppola (The Batman)

Relationship With Harley Quinn

As we mentioned before, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn have always had a close relationship. At one point, they were lovers, but to us, they’re best friends who happen to be total opposites. This is seen in the DC Universe series, Harley Quinn where the pair live together after they break out of Arkham Asylum.

Harley often ignores Ivy’s advice and it almost gets her killed and/or captured on several occasions. However, they would be lost without the other. As if this wasn’t enough, Ivy is always having to save Harley’s ass from everything including almost getting murdered by Joker.

Moreover, the loyalty these two have for each other spellbinding and we mean that literally. When Joker kills Ivy in front of Harley and their friends, the former girlfriend of Mister J swears bloody revenge on him for killing her best friend. She and her crew go after the clown prince of crime only to discover later that Harley’s tears brought Ivy back to life.

In conclusion, Ivy and Harley would have pretty crappy existences if it wasn’t the other. Harley would still be pining over Joker. Ivy would still be talking to her plants and being a total badass eco terrorist.

cjhawkings

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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