Thursday, August 27, 2009

Batman: The Widening Gyre #1 (Review)

"Why's that broad do anything? 'Cause a pocket full of posies told her to." ~ The Joker

The first issue of Batman: The Widening Gyre was released this week. I wasn't exactly sure what role Poison Ivy played in this series or if she appeared at all. Well, let's just say I saw more of Poison Ivy than I ever expected -- yikes!

The Widening Gyre is a Kevin Smith project. Smith is better known for his screenwriting, directing, and acting efforts. Years ago, Kevin Smith began writing for many of the major comic book houses (to mixed reviews). That leads us to this current DC Comics mini-series.

I must confess, I've read very little of his comic book work. Though I did attempt to collect his Spider-man/Black Cat mini-series but gave up after extended delays. Honestly, I only bothered because I enjoyed the work of Rachel and Terry Dodson.

After seeing the initial preview pages at the DCU Blog I was mildly intrigued. (The preview pages contained no Poison Ivy material) Upon getting my copy I flipped the pages forward to the Arkham Asylum story. It begins with Batman and Nightwing in Bludhaven. They've discovered a body that has been mutilated by plant roots. Naturally, the assumption is that Poison Ivy murdered the man in question. Batman speedboats his way to Arkham Asylum and stumbles upon the building covered in roots and vines.

He axes his way through Arkham and passes many of the rogues trapped in their cells. Batman eventually discovers Poison Ivy lurking about the courtyard. Ivy has retreated there because Etrigan the Demon is running amok and feasting on human flesh. If you want the finer details I suggest you pick up a copy -- because I'm about to focus on what caught my attention the most. The quite bizarre characterization of Poison Ivy.

I'm going to do this in list form. There's so many things to point out I can't think of a better way to say as much.

1. I was quite taken aback by the manner in which she is first seen. Poison Ivy is floating in a vine sling -- topless, spread eagle, and in a most porn-like pose. When Batman declines to explore her "jungle" (as she puts it) Ivy threatens to masturbate herself instead. What!? Everyone knows that Poison Ivy is a seductress but she's never traded in such tramp like behavior. I've always considered Ivy to be a master at the art of tease. It's the difference between burlesque and stripping. Of course she wears sexy costumes but she's never put it all out there in this manner. I absolutely do not approve of this adolescent fanfic portrayal. Ick.

2. Poison Ivy gets Batman stoned. Again -- totally stupid fanboy fantasy nonsense. What's hotter than a naked chick? A naked chick with a bong. Right?

3. I can't believe that Smith created the idea that Poison Ivy slathers herself in patchouli. Batman even refers to it as her "signature scent". Most people associate the word patchouli with stinking hippies. No thanks.

4. Ivy is wearing a belt of thorns against her naked skin. I haven't the faintest idea whether or not this was supposed to be a slight against the crucifixion story. But how else are you supposed to interpret a ring of thorns placed tightly against the skin causing it to bleed. Because Ivy is bleeding at the waist. Tacky and weird.

There's also a scene with Killer Croc that gave me the creeps. When Batman confronts Poison Ivy she releases a sea of pheromones to disarm him. Killer Croc happened to be in the general area and falls under her spell. He charges in and attacks Batman because Bats is trying to "get up in his kool-aid". Seriously. And the entire time they battle Batman is giving narration about how Croc's skin condition is caused by HPV -- better known as genital warts.

Egads! This whole affair leaves me numb. I'm never comfortable when writers are handed Poison Ivy and they immediately toss her into the slut box. (Oooh, green boobies!) It's unimaginative and lazy. Frankly, it's disrespectful to the character and her fans. I'm a completest so this book is going in my back issues collection. But I'll be sure to give it the stink eye on occasion.

Also, the promotional image for this book never appears.

"Oh,'ve outdone yourself." ~ Batman


Dale Bagwell said...

I get what your saying, as I feel Smith went a little too far with the weed jokes. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for it in his movies. That's where you expect them to be, but dude, not in Batman! I do have to admit some of the drug stuff is something that Ivy may or may have dabbled in the past, but that would be geared more for a "after hours" special, than the regular book. Even you have to admit though that Ivy is sexy as hell here, but yeah she's written more in the porn sense than the regularly restrained sexy manner she's normally portrayed in. Smith has openly admitted to being stoned when writing for comics lately, so there you go.

Anonymous said...

This comic I want, but it makes me sad.

It's That's taking Poison Ivy and turning her from Dita Von Teese to Jenna Jameson.

She's sexy, a vamp a tease and seductive, yes. But she's CLASSY in how she does it!

She's dangerous because it's not guratneed you get her affections easily, you have to EARN it, and even then you might only get a kiss of death!

jackobsbrandon said...

christian bale leather

batman is my most favorite movie and the role is really great

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