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Poison Ivy

DC Bombshells
by yo go re

Macklemore may wear your granddad's clothes, but Poison Ivy gets in your grandma's underwear.

French smuggler Pamela Ysley worked for Italian socialite Selina Digatti until the day the Germans captured Calais. Forced to provide luxuries for the Nazis, Ysley bided her time, waiting for an opportunity to present itself. One night she concocted a perfume so sweet that it made the soldiers fall alseep, and she was able to kill them. The only downside was that it also turned her skin green, a trade she made happily to help free her country.

There's so much rampant lesbianism in the Bombshells comic that you'd think it was somebody's Tumblr fanfic. Every subtle undertone or subtext the real comics may have ever hinted at, Bombshells embraces, makes overt, and throws into the light of day. Supergirl likes Lois Lane. Mera and Wonder Woman are exes. Catwoman is down for a threesome with Batwoman and Alexander Luthor. And characters like Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, who are canonically bi in the usual books, are a full-fledged couple here.

We have, in the past, related the story of how the Bombshells line of statues came to be. Early concept art was done by DC Direct art director Brian Walters, then the idea was given to Udon Studios (the same people, you might remember, who did the Ame-Comi Girls) and finally Ant Lucia. In the comics, Ivy dresses fairly conservatively, wearing normal dresses and other outerwear - in the control art, however, she's the most typically "pin-uppy" of all the ladies, which does at least suit the character. From the start, all the art drew her posing seductively in her vintage undies, so that's what we got first from the statue and now from the toy.

Ivy was sculpted by Paul Harding. She's got inhuman proportions, with legs that are much longer than they should be (to better capture the pin-up style). The look on her face is best described as "bemused," as though she's internally laughing at some private joke. Her hair is done up in a pair of "victory rolls" that have her looking like Ingrid Bergman in Notorious, and there's a rose tucked behind her left ear.

The lingerie worn in pin-up art was not standard-issue underwear at the time, any more than the lingerie worn in porn is standard-issue underwear today - the entire point of it was to look exotic and enticing. That said, it still has real-world counterparts. The '40s were when women stopped wearing corsets, because the steel bones that gave them their shape was needed for war production; the same goes for the rubber girdles. Specialized bras were only about a decade old at that point, and were plain and undecorated, not the lacy see-through number Ivy's wearing here (in the original art, you can tell that the sold green bands were supposed to be covering her nipples, while the statue and toy move them up higher on the bust, suggesting that either the bra is not sheer, or she has Barbie boobs). Panties, then known as "step-ins," were also rare before the '30s, and were not tight-fitting and stretchy as they are today, but were looser and held in place by elastic, almost like boxer shorts. Ivy's definitely come up high enough, covering her belly button, but again the choice of fabric/design is a fantasy element. Since panties don't have built-in garter straps, as girdles do, we can assume Ivy is wearing a separate one to hold up her stockings. Yes, garter belts go under the panties, which help hold them in place - wearing them over was just for fashion ads to show them off. Her high heels are pretty extreme, but then, she's not really meant to be standing, is she?

The paint is necessarily intricate - not just the lace patterns on her clothes, but the tattoos on her arms, back and nape as well. The earliest early ideas for Bombshells wouldn't just have been straight pin-up style: there would have been a dash of rockabilly in there, too, and the tats feel like a holdover from that. They are, appropriately, vines and leaves, though she shows her origins by way of a tiny black bat on her left elbow. You'll never see the designs on her neck unless you twist her head way to the side, so you have to give DC props for even bothering to paint them.

The figure includes three pairs of hands: fists, splayed, or pinching. Yes, pinching. One of her other accessories is a single pink rose, an the pinching hands allow her to hold it ever-so-gingerly. The biggest piece, however, is a carnivorous weed-monster. No, not Taco Bell's newest specialty item, an actual plant with a thick, thorny vine and a bud that features teeth and a tongue, like she took a clipping from Audrey II. It's flexible enough that you can entwine it around her arms, but there's no obvious "set" position for it.

All the design, sculpt, and paint in the world would mean nothing if the toy couldn't move, but that thankfully isn't an issue. Poison Ivy gets swivel/hinge joints at the ankles, wrists and shoulders; double-hinged elbows and knees; swivel thighs and biceps; a hinged waist; and balljointed hips, chest and head. The hips are tighter than the waist is, so she'll tend to bend in half before moving her legs. She gets an extra hinge at the hip that lets her legs move down about ⅛", which may seem pointless, but actually lets the legs get into the sort of hyper-extended poses pin-up girls were known for. It's tough to get her into the statue's pose, but it can be done - and so can many others!

It's fun to think of all the various Poisons Ivy released over the years as members of one continuing family tree (no pun intended): you've got Bombshells Ivy in World War II, then her free-love hippie daughter, a '90s bad girl, and then a reserved, self-confident modern version. A matrilineal dynasty of just one character! Poison Ivy's creation was influenced by Bettie Page, so becoming a full-fledged pin-up girl is really just her getting back to her roots.

-- 06/22/17

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