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Poison Ivy

Ame-Comi Heroine Series
by Artemis

Poison Ivy's regular name is Pamela Isley (her middle name's Lillian, if you're curious), but I've got a better name for her: Fetish Bait. I mean, she's a lithe redhead, with an exotic skin colour no less, who's basically naked a lot of the time, give or take a bit of flower arrangement, has pheromone mind-control powers, and a legion of tentacular greenery at her disposal. It'd be quicker to list the fetishes she's not pre-prepared for. The only drawback is the whole touch-of-death thing, so you'd need some kind of full body condom. Or maybe body paint.

Toxic kiss, deadly touch! This beautiful-but-deadly flower is very intoxicating - and very, very dangerous. One kiss, one touch and the toxins in her bloodstream will wither the strongest of humans - permanently. Immune to nearly every poison, bacteria and virus known to humans, Poison Ivy is the perfect counterpart for her best pal and partner-in-crime, Harley Quinn.

And now you know why - although it's hardly news - Harley and Ivy are only just behind Xena and Gabrielle as the worst-kept secret in the history of lesbian subtext. Actually, broaden it to homosexuality of either kind, and you can throw in Batman and Robin too. Come to think of it, Gotham's pretty big on it; there's Batwoman and the Question too nowadays, which all together makes the place about 500% more gay than anywhere this side of Paradise Island. People often argue about whether Gotham is New York or Chicago or what - they can throw San Fran into the mix now. Maybe that's why people continue to live there, despite the insane crime rate. That's insanely high crime rate, or high rate of insane crime, take your pick, they both work.

Pam's had her various looks over the years, as artists have taken advantage of inventive writers, changing moods, and so on - she started with the classic green tights and swimsuit made of leaves, tends to switch into smoother tinkerbell minidresses or leotards whenever she ventures into animation (probably so the animators don't have to draw all those leaves), and whenever the artist is feeling horny and the editor's looking the other way, she'll just be stark naked with a couple of strawberries on her chest and a calla lily having the time of its life lower down. Ame-Comi goes with the latter option, more or less but, as is its wont, tweaks it in its own direction, rendering Ivy as the kind of elfin tree sprite you tend to find hanging around forests in anime fantasy; since I played it so much, I keep seeing her as a Kokiri from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

She's a bit more grown up than that, fortunately (at least, if you don't think that's fortunate, I'd really rather not know), having swapped the preteen Kokiri frame for the kind of body more traditionally seen telling the pizza delivery guy she hasn't got enough cash, but maybe there's some other way she could make it up to him. Her essential assets are covered by a leafy bikini, which aside from the "straps" over her hips is actually separate pieces glued in place on the body - it makes for very sharp delineation between skin and bikini, since painting errors are impossible, and since the back of her bikini is a loincloth kind of arrangement, means that she's the first Ame-Comi statue to feature genuine nudity; fortunately her closed thighs keep her from straying into Plastic Fantasy territory.

Her face is very stylised, almost alien-looking with its wide eyes and triangular shape and unusually, even for anime, simplistic nose and mouth, but due to the whole "forest sprite" thing she actually comes across as a bit more realistic than most of her Ame-Comi sisters - even if everyone else looked real (albeit animated, but western real-cartoon style), you could still accept Ivy looking like this. She's got those wide pointy elf ears, too, though they're not quite at Warcraft levels yet. Compared to her packaging art it's a very close match - the only flaw (from my point of view) is her eyes, which stare straight ahead on the statue, while in the art they're glancing off to one side, which I think gives her a devious little edge.

Furthering the more-plant-than-person image, there's a lot of physical integration of the flora adorning her body. Normally, even when Ivy's drawn naked and creeper-covered, there's no real join between the woman and the plant - she might as well just have picked the stuff out of her garden and draped it over herself before hitting the town - but this version is clearly a plant-woman through and through. Her pale green skin turns faintly brown around the knees and toes, where her shins are covered with masses of leaves, like the stem of a flower nearing its roots, and while the thin vines wrapped around her thighs and biceps just turn up out of nowhere like decorations, the huge mass of creepers behind her is clearly growing straight out of her back. Even her hair, as well as the obvious greenery woven into it, curls weirdly around at the tips, just like a climbing vine.

The big tentacle-fetish-fuel plant masses are divided into four "arms," two on each side - the upper ones are shaped like hands, apparently taking over manipulation duties while Ivy's own hands are busy suggestively holding the lower vines, which end in vulture-like pointed mouths. Contrasting with her smooth, evenly coloured skin and slender body generally, the tendrils are thick, gnarled and twisted, with a dark green base colour and a drybrush of slightly metallic pale green, which is repeated on the bikini sections.

Aside from a naked bottom, Ivy has one other thing no previous Ame-Comi girl has sported (or if they have, I've been handling them too carefully to notice) - a joint. Like pretty much any respectable action figure these days she's got a three-axis balljoint neck, which has been left unglued, allowing her head to be turned and tilted this way and that. With her hair spreading out behind her and weaving among the plant tentacles she's fairly limited in how far she can turn, but there's enough play in the joint to give her a little personalisation - it ain't much, but for a statue it's a nice bonus. There are other seams on the figure, such as the shoulders, and the wrists of her hand-tentacles, but they're just constructions joints, and are all glued in place.

Since her feet are close together, and both immersed in the one mass of leaves, she's eminently stable standing on her own, but for consistency's sake she's got the usual Ame-Comi base, with a single peg that fits (very tightly) into the sole of her right foot.

I've got quite a few Ame-Comi statues by now - and with those bases of theirs they're taking up plenty of shelf space, even overlapping them where possible - but I'm tempted to say Ivy is my favourite. Maybe it's all that time spent playing Zelda, but the forest sprite look really works as an anime interpretation of the character - it's spot-on to represent Poison Ivy, yet it's also very much an anime thing, not just the comic character with big eyes and fewer clothes than normal. If she'd had that devious sideways glance as in the art she'd be perfect, but even so she's worth the considerable (by action figure standards) price tag you'll pay for her.

-- 04/20/09

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