Writer: Tom King

Artists: Mikel Janin, Hugo Petrus

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Colours: June Chung

Cover by: Mikel Janin

Publisher: DC Comics

 

One of my favorite things in comics is stories that subvert expectations. That’s one thing Tom King has done continually through his run on Batman. I’ve talked a lot about how much I enjoy this run, and the conclusion of Everyone Loves Ivy is the perfect distillation of that.

Bruce is continuing to recover in a Gotham hospital (after an Ivy-controlled Superman beat him last issue). Selina is face to face with her longtime friend. And both of them talk to her- Bruce through Harley and the Superman family, Selina directly. What follows is not the brawl you’d expect or even a psychological out maneuvering. Instead, Bruce and Selina get Ivy help, courtesy of her best friend/kinda girlfriend Harley Quinn. It’s an examination of grief, trauma, and most surprisingly, PTSD. It’s also fitting, given the profile that gaslighting has been given, that Riddler apparently performed the same act on Ivy, leading to her trauma.

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This issue does a great thing. King’s script acknowledges that what Ivy has done isn’t good, but it was done with good intentions. In addition to that, he never demonizes her, or shows her as weak. Instead, he shows her as human (despite her nearly godlike scope in this story). The depiction of Harley is great as well, not making her act out of character, but utilizing her background as a psychologist to great effect.

It also continues the theme I’ve talked about a lot when talking about King’s Batman stories- this is Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask. He doesn’t solve his problem through fisticuffs or an elaborate scheme to rival theirs. He sees Ivy’s trauma (and interestingly enough never calls her POISON Ivy), and gets her help from the two women who care about her most in the world. Hell, the one punch thrown in the issue is by Selina, and it’s because Selina loves her friend that it works.

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What can I say about Mikel Janin’s art that hasn’t been said already. This is a masterful piece of art, both by Janin as well as the pages done by Hugo Petrus. The two blend their work together perfectly, and the story looks amazing. The conversation between Selina and Ivy alone is fabulous. June Chung’s colors add so much as well, with the harsh lighting of the hospital and the lush green of Ivy’s botanical lair both done so well.

With the wedding of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle only a few issues away, this run is reaching a climax. I just hope that doesn’t end King’s run, as it’s been top notch, with fantastic art throughout.

If you haven’t bought this book yet, buy it today.

Overall: 9 out of 10

 

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