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Poison Ivy

DCD Justice
by Monkey Boy

For his DC Comics series Justice, artist Alex Ross took the opportunity to redesign a number of characters, particularly the villains. Cheetah now wears a more cobbled-together costume complete with crude stitching, Bizarro looks like a zombie, and Poison Ivy is... a porn star? For the third series of DC Direct's figures based on Justice, we get two bat-villains, one of which is Dr. Pamela Isley. Ross played up Ivy's seductress angle heavily, giving us essentially a nude woman wrapped sparsely in vines and leaves.

Before you cry "sexist!" keep in mind that Karen Palinko handled the sculpt. And the sculpt does the character justice (...no pun intended, sorry). Ivy is standing with her weight resting on her right foot, while her left is lightly and elegantly balancing on the ball of the foot, and her back is arched seductively. The setup just screams "Just wait! I'll be leaning over awkwardly soon!" and with DCD's track record for leaning females, you'd think they'd give up the mid-step pose. No such luck. The vines are sculpted on her body, save for a few places where they are actually separate pieces glued onto the main figure. In these spots, the vines are a softer plastic and feature the vines snaking off of the body itself. Strangely, one of these extra vine pieces on her right calf does not match up with any of the vine sculpting on her main body, and appears to be sprouting from Ivy's skin. Gross. Leaves sprout from the vines at irregular intervals, with heavy concentrations of foliage in certain areas to cover her naughty bits.

Painting all those thin, scrawling vines was bound to be tricky, and the figure has some issues in that department. The paint on the vines and leaves tends to be a smidge too thin all over (and by thin I mean "narrow," not "transparent"). This means that the edges of the raised sculpted areas meant to be painted green remain flesh colored, and up close it looks pretty peculiar. The eyes are also a little strange. They're very zombie-like, and don't seem to focus in a unified direction. The eyes don't look as bulgy if you tilt her head down slightly, but they still don't seem to be looking at anything. The skintone is well done and evenly applied, which is a plus since it covers so much of the figure, and the green lipstick is a nice touch.

The figure has about the articulation you'd expect from a DCD figure, but for the first time in my life I almost wish a figure had less articulation. The balljointed head is nice and gives the figure some personality, and the peg shoulders aren't too bad, but the rest of the joints are very obvious, and that's not such a great thing on a nude figure. The elbow and knee hinges are not subtle at all. Hiding the pegs that hold the joint together would have benefited this figure a lot. The t-crotch hips are also a bit distracting, particularly on the backside of the figure. Some strategically sculpted vines along the articulation lines would have probably hidden the hips better, but that also might have made the figure appear to be wearing a vine bikini, and I don't think that's the intention. I hate to say it, but losing the hip joints altogether would have probably been the best way to go as far as preserving the figure's feminine curves.

Accessories are nil, aside from the same base that all the Justice figures get. It's nicely sculpted, but it takes up a lot of space, especially for a figure like Ivy, whose feet are very close together. When standing her on the base, it's not possible to center her since the footpegs are so near the base's edge. The result is a lot of unused space on the base, which looks kind of awkward.

All in all, I really like Ross's revamp of Ivy (after all, what straight man wouldn't?). It's simple, yet provocative. The figure itself, however, ultimately falls short of expressing the idea as well as it should. The sculpt is top notch, but the articulation is distracting, and the paint issues also hurt the figure, particularly the vines and leaves. I would much rather have the green paint cover too much area than not enough. Having some of the skin covered with green would look a lot better from a distance (and up close, for that matter) than having the edges of the vines and leaves look like exposed skin. It doesn't seem like it should be that big of an issue, but since the vines cover the entire figure and are essential to expressing the look Ross was trying to convey, it really makes the figure less convincing, overall.

Still, I'm sure it'll be a hit for those whose figure collections are full of sexy females (even if their beds are not). I only wish I could say that this was the nakedest figure in my collection... sigh. In the end, it's not a bad figure, but with the high price point of most DCD figures, it would be nice to see more attention paid to the look of the final product.

-- 05/11/06

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