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Poison Ivy

DC Signature Collection
by yo go re

Why does everybody consider Poison Ivy evil? She's just an average girl, looking to get plowed.

Timid Pamela Isley was a botanist who worked with famous scientist, Dr. Jason Woodrue. Developing an experimental serum to create human/plant hybrids, Woodrue injected the skittish Isley. She was transformed into a beautiful, green-skinned, chlorophyll-enhanced vixen with the ability to attract using pheremones and kill with powerful toxins. Considering herself an environmental protector, she uses these powers to perform villainous acts on behalf of her precious plant-life.

When she first appeared, Poison Ivy had no origin: she was just a seductress with a green swimsuit and some chloroform (not chlorophyll) lipstick - she wasn't even immune to it herself, having to plug her nose to keep from passing out. It wasn't until 1978 that we were told her name was Lillian Rose and she'd been poisoned by her professor (and it wasn't until 1989 that that professor was changed to Dr. Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man).

When originally created, Ivy was based visually on Bettie Page - so even back then, she was a sexpot. The styles may have changed, but that's remained constant. These days she has long, wild hair that spills all the way down below her butt, and it's sculpted with some leaves poking out through the locks. Her face isn't as flat as some Mattel women's have been.

In a shocking turn of events, Pam gets newly sculpted pieces that aren't just her head. Seriously, after spending 20 series taking DCUC to task for its reused bodies, we feel honor-bound to make it up to them by basking in amazement every time one of these online-only figures delivers something better. Her arms and legs may be reused, but both her upper and lower torso are new since they needed to have the fully detailed leaf trim around the edges of her suit (to say nothing of the choker at her neck). And she may not be the first DC woman with bare feet, but hers don't have claws coming off the toes.

This is modern Poison Ivy, so her skin is green. Despite what a lot of fans think, that isn't a feature that first appeared in the cartoons: in BtAS, she was a normal, human pink, and even when the character models were redesigned, her skin was more gray than green - Catwoman's blue skin was more extreme than Ivy's green. As far as we can tell, the first time she was ever shown to be green was during the "No Man's Land" storyline (shortly after Catwoman smashed a vial of "super fertilizer" in her face, coincidentally enough). There's some shading, but mostly the tone is even all over her body, so obviously Mattel doesn't subscribe to Artemis's theory.

Poison Ivy comes with some accessories: three strands of ivy that wrap around her arms and left leg. You can remove them easily, if you want to, but they're only sized for her limbs, so you can't wrap them around, say, Batman and still have them look right. They do look very nice on her, though, and the sculpted details are good.

The portrait on the back of the box is even better. Mike Thompson has kept the green skin, but given her more personality than the toy would be able to manage. Her face isn't quite as sinister as you might expect from a vamp like Ivy: she looks just a little more sweet and innocent than she should. Maybe she's looking at Harley rather than a target. She has thinner, more intricate vines than the toy does, and a thicker bush. Of leaves! Leaves on the edge of her costume! She's posed seductively on a large, woody vine that appears to be sprouting a rose at the end - such is the magic of being a pseudo Swamp Thing (in-canon, not from a creative standpoint)! Mattel needs to release these paintings as wallpapers or something.

Poison Ivy is one of the major Batman villains, and definitely would have sold if she'd made an appearance in any of the three (four? five?) different DC lines Mattel had at mass retail. So why, then, was she relegated to the online line? Well, Mattel used the promise of Ivy to entice us to subscribe, but that doesn't explain why she couldn't have been done for DCSH years ago. The figure's very good, though, especially since they didn't skimp on the leaves.

-- 11/15/12

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