BATMAN #41 & #42

Did you know that in Ancient Greece, their physicians used ivy in order to prevent intoxication, reduce swelling, as well as to anesthetize their patients? No. I’m not talking about the sultry super-villain, Poison Ivy. I’m referring to her plant-based equivalent. Even though the two of them will be featured in the following story created by Tom King, Mikel Janin, and published by DC Comics in March, 2018!

TO QUOTE Mitch Hedberg Read: 'My fake plant died yesterday because I did not pretend to water it'.

One night, Bruce Wayne is suddenly woken up by a strange sensation that seems to be brewing deep within his soul. In fact, this sensation is so strange, so deep, and so hard to cope with, that he uncharacteristically attack’s Selina and Alfred when they both attempt to approach him. 

Thankfully, though, this feeling doesn’t last for very long; because as soon as he realizes what he’s actually doing, Bruce injects himself and Selina with a syringe he smartly stores in the Batcave. A syringe, I hasten to add, that’s filled with a combination of chemicals which prevents people from being controlled by the botanical eco-terrorist, Pamela Isley

Yes. That’s correct. I’m talking about Ivy, Poison Ivy, who’s back from the beyond and ready to cause trouble. To such an extent, that she even manages to control, possess, and manipulate, everyone living on the entire planet, and I do mean everyone, including Alfred, store clerks, scarlet speedsters, little old women, men of steel, plus the individual members of the Justice League, among others. 

So with that said, we have to ask ourselves, how do you think Batman and Catwoman can get themselves out of this mess and save the day? I mean, they can barely make it out of Wayne Manor without a certain Kryptonian looming over them! So to find out more please pick up issues 41 and 42 of Batman today. But before you do that, here, check this out... 

Part One) DIGGING OUT THE WEEDS:   If I had to use one single word to define this multi-part tale, that word would have to be elegant. After all, how else can I sum-up an adventure which has a simple premise, a poetic style, and artwork that’s as clean-cut as a diamond-encrusted broach? Honestly, this is a pretty snazzy story, and I did appreciate how it gradually unfolded one page at a time. 

Basically, the overall premise revolves around Poison Ivy, the sultry eco-terrorist, who manages to take control over the entire planet by using her plant-based powers. What she didn’t count on, however, is the fact that Batman and Catwoman were able to survive her initial onslaught, and now the two of them have to... well... you know what they have to do! Save the entire planet from her evil clutches, blah-blah-blah! Try to think of it as a superhero version of the 1967 Vincent Price classic, ‘The Last Man on Earth’, albeit with more action, more suspense, and a selection of some more colorful characters. 

I also appreciated the number of gags this adventure had on offer, particularly those spoken by Catwoman, the saucy minx, who kept on telling Bruce how Poison Ivy was going to be involved with their wedding arrangements, keeping in mind that she’s the only other person who’s still around. Seriously, stuff like this was really fun to read! So much so, that I’m starting to think that Bruce and Selina are turning into the Marge and Homer of the DC Universe, what with the way they leisurely go around town performing their daily activities in spite of the dangers lurking nearby.

Come to think of it, maybe there was a little bit too much of this going on! Even though I’m not entirely against reading gags, jokes, or humorous observations, especially since I’m a big fan of old-school comedy, in the same breath, adding a brighter tone to a series which is normally very dark and intense, kind of takes away a certain edge we’re generally used to.

What do you think; dear reader? Does this jovial spirit add something to the series or take something away from it? I don’t think it does, not totally, anyway. Having said that, though, the partnership between Batman and Catwoman seems to be progressing along these lines, so who knows how far this brand of comedic hijinks will go? Not too far, I hope, yet who’s to say when far is actually too far? Tom King? The audience? Or the big wigs at DC Comics? Also, what do you think about the simple structure of this tale? Was it too simplistic for you or do you prefer a good old-fashioned murder mystery? After all, Batman is a detective and he hasn’t been doing much detecting lately! Has he?

Part Two) FLOWER POWER:   Can someone please tell me when and where Poison Ivy started to become so God damn powerful? Did I accidentally skip a miniseries or a collection of issues which explains her current state? And if I did, why has it taken her so long to make her presence known? 

Seriously, this influx of power didn’t make much sense and I hope it’s rectified during next months episodes. If it isn’t, then that would be a shame, a real shame, along with the fact that our two main characters are strangely exhibiting abilities they’ve never exhibited before.

For instance, how come Batman and Catwoman were able to intercept those super-speed attacks instigated by each member of the Flash family? They're only human, after all, not super-human, even though they did spend many years honing their abilities in the field of combat! I didn’t understand how Batman was able to temporarily stun Superman with a high pitched whistle either? I mean, has this sort of thing been played out before? Or is it just something tailor-made for this particular story? Also, to add insult to injury, the ending of issue 42 did feel a little bit too far-fetched. Not the actual ending but the lead up to the actual ending, which I don’t want to elaborate on too much for the sake of spoilers!

Either way, at the end of the day, the one thing about this story-line I’m not too keen on was how it broke the conventions of believability. Despite this being a comic book story, that doesn’t necessarily mean it shouldn’t be grounded in some sort of logical reality that makes sense for me, you, and the human characters involved. 

Part Three) WATER COLOR ART:   Do you like Mikel Janin’s artwork? If you don’t, then I’d suggest that you’d skip over to the next section. Go on. Take a run and jump. But before you do, please remember that the rest of us Janin-fans appreciate his work because he’s just so God damn talented! 

You name it and he can draw it: Villains, heroes, plants, furniture, vehicles, and even multi-story buildings and houses. Plus if you want to see a highly detailed montage sequence full of character, expression, and soul, then you have to look no further than the Mikel-master himself! He’s also really good at making his characters appear a lot sexier than they actually are, doing so without making any of them seem too sexy for the sake of titivation. Take a look at some of the pictures provided: Like the one of Ivy, for instance. Doesn’t she look sexy? Yes. Of course she does. But more importantly, she also looks demure, elegant, and somewhat poised, almost as if she’s looking directly into your eyes and trying to analyze what you’re thinking. All this in one simple picture!

I also like the way he drew those characters Pam possesses. You can clearly see that they’re under someone else’s control because of their vacant expressions and indolent poses. Their sinister green eyes are a nice little touch too, as they act as a reminder so people don’t forget who’s doing the talking behind the lips. 

So in conclusion, I like to think that Mikel is an awesome artist and he drew two pretty decent episodes of Batman. What characters do you think he’ll have to draw next? My money is on someone like Booster Gold or Blue Beetle. What do you think?

Would you call me lazy if I musically matched-up these two episodes to Poison Ivy? The song by the Coasters, rather than the plant or the super-villain! Yeah. You most probably would. Not that I give a toss. Musical match-up made!!!

Ops! I think I’ve answered this question already. Still, never mind! If I can do it once I’m sure I can do it again. So once more let me compare these two comic books to the 1967 Vincent Price classic, ‘The Last Man on Earth’.

Near the end of issue 42, Batman goads Poison Ivy to manipulate someone to do something very nasty to him, very-very nasty. So, out of the following eight scenarios, let’s see if you can guess what this something actually is? Could it involve...

  • Wonder Woman, kicking him in the nuts?
  • Aquaman, taking him for a shower? 
  • Superman, punching him in the face?
  • Hawkman, flying him into outer-space?
  • The Flash, massaging him at super-speed?
  • Green Lantern, blinding him with his light?
  • Deadman, telling him a joke?
  • Cyborg, boring him with his technical jargon?
Nuff said. 

BATMAN #41 & #42 BATMAN #41 & #42 Reviewed by David Andrews on March 29, 2018 Rating: 5

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