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Poison Ivy

DC Direct Hush
by yo go re

There's a joke about oceans of calamine lotion somewhere in here, but I'm not going to be the one to make it.

A once-promising botanist, Pamela Isley is able to generate various vegetable toxins and other chemicals from her body and to control the growth of plants to a limited degree. A passionate woman, she uses her abilities for the good of plant-kind and the detriment of humanity, clashing numerous times with Batman and gradually becoming more and more plant-like, now being more plant than human.

Poison Ivy is a good example of the influence that the various DC animated series have had on the comics in the past decade. Originally just another girl with a weakness for wood, she remained pretty much unchanged until Paul Dini and Bruce Timm gave her a redesign for the New Batman Adventures. When the show relaunched, Ivy'd gone green, and I don't mean voting for Nader - her skin had taken on the same color as the plants she adored.

After the giant "No Man's Land" crossover, Ivy emerged from Gotham City's Robinson Park with a distinct verdant palor, a look that has lasted a few years now. Ivy's most recent appearance was in the best-selling "Hush" storyline by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee, and thanks to that we have our first 6"-scale version of this long-time antagonist.

Ivy's costume has had some minor changes over the years, but for the most part it has remained the same - a two-tone green leotard with a leaf motif - and that's the basic ground that Jim Lee started from. She's still got the dark green torso, though her legs are now bare, save for the tendrils of her namesake plant that curl all over her body.

Actually, all that creeping ivy is detailed very well, thanks to sculptor Tim Bruckner. Bruckner's really done a good job turning two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional figures for DC Direct, first with the Kingdom Come line and now with Hush. Since Ivy didn't get a heavy redesign, the figure couldn't just rely on her costume to show evidence of Lee's influence.

Poison Ivy moves at the head, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, and, while that preserves the look of the figure, it's really not enough. The "self-contained balljoint" design that DC Direct uses limits the range of upward motion in their arms, so you can forget about getting her into that out-reaching pose shown in the promotional art. Additionally, in the entire Hush line, Ivy's the only one who actually needs her base to stand - for the others, it's more of a decorative element.

Her pose is appropriately seductive - hip cocked to the side, one leg slightly forward - but unfortunately, that type of pose requires balance, and Ivy doesn't have it. Her problem is that big wild mane of red hair; it reaches almost to her waist and makes her top-heavy. It also limits the range of her balljointed neck, so you can't even find a decent position to deal with the weight. If you like the classic Ivy more than her new green style, you could paint her arms and shoulders flesh tone and have it perfect.

Ivy's only accessory, other than the ⅜" thick Bat-logo base that all the "Hush" figures have, is a clever little piece of, well, ivy. About 5" long and molded from soft PVC, the vine can either be wrapped around Ivy herself or draped on any unsuspecting man she wants to ensnare - bet it'll look great on Series 2's Superman. The PVC construction makes the vine flexible and springy, so you can find the best way to display it wherever you choose.

The "Hush" version of Poison Ivy isn't a very radical departure, so she'll fit with your other Bat-villains fairly well. She's definitely sexy and feminine, but she should have, at least, had balljointed hips to help her stand or, failing that, a more specific base than the generic one the other figures received.

-- 07/30/04

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