Saturday, August 6, 2011


No that's not She-Hulk! It is one of Poison Ivy's plant creations known as Ferak (an anagram of "freak"). This prickly beauty made her DCU debut back in 1998 on a profile page featured in Batman Villains Secret Files #1.

I must say that my initial reaction to seeing Ferak was not exactly a friendly one. Mainly because I wasn't sure if this was a character who would compete with Poison Ivy or if she was in allegiance to Ivy's cause. As it turns out, Ferak was indeed a Poison Ivy construct and would act as the guardian(s) of Robinson Park but also to the orphans who would call that park home.

Her appearance is both beauty and beast. Brilliant green hair tops the frame of her rather strong and green body. Thorns jut out from her "skin" at various points and she can shoot these thorns defensively. (The profile page claims that her skin is toxic to the touch but this is never explored.) We learn of her super-strength in Batman: No Man's Land (Ground Zero) #0. Ferak can tear apart solid objects like asphalt and toss cars with ease. Her body has the ability to transform and regenerate limbs when necessary.

In #0 she is portrayed as having a primitive intelligence and she does not speak. A trait that the Huntress has to work around in order to communicate with the lost creature. That is the basic premise of #0. Ferak is found destroying Gotham City after being led astray and it's up to the Huntress to get her back to Robinson Park.

Ferak wreaks havoc on Gotham City as the Huntress (in Batgirl drag) swoops down!
The next time we see Ferak is in the pages of Detective comics (issues 751 & 752) in a storyline titled "Walk in the Park". Commissioner Gordon is given orders by the Gotham City Mayor to remove Poison Ivy and her orphans from Robinson Park. Ivy has ruled over the park for a year since the events of No Man's Land.

The feeling is it's better to have no park -- or at least one we can replant -- than to have a psychotic eco-terrorist living in the middle of Gotham. ~ Gotham City Mayor
The city plans on using R.C. Sixty, a defoliant created by Lexcorp, to kill all plantlife within the park - including Poison Ivy and the Feraks. Yes plural! In #751 we discover that there is a small army of "Feraks" that act as the muscle on Poison Ivy's command. Batman arrives to try and convince Ivy to leave the park willingly to avoid any harm to the children. She balks and is ready to martyr herself on behalf of nature...until one of the children is accidentally poisoned by touching Ivy's toxic skin. Poison Ivy decides to surrender to the G.C.P.D to avoid any further danger to the orphans and the park is spared total destruction.

The Feraks watch over the children and Robinson Park as Poison Ivy prepares for invasion.
Ferak makes her final appearance in Young Justice, No Man's Land #1. Batman has banned Robin (Tim Drake) from Gotham City after it is taken over by criminals. Back in Keystone City a sulking Robin is convinced by Superboy and Impulse to break the rules and go on a road trip to Gotham. When they arrive in the city the level of devastation becomes clear. Lagoon Lad, from Atlantis, also appears in Gotham at the same time.

Upon entering Robinson Park they catch a group of gun and torch weildling thugs attempting to escape out of the park. Something has them running off in fear. It's Ferak! She holds her own against the Young Justice boys until Batman shows up to bring her down. He douses her with an herbicide and she collapses and dies at their feet. She was the last of her kind.

Ferak succumbs to the effects of herbicide and returns to the earth, from whence she came.
Ferak was a gentle giant who protected her mistress without hesitation. This particular plant creation was unique because Poison Ivy usually conjures up monstrosities that appear male in nature. Beyond making plant avatars of herself - this was Ivy's first female humanoid plant servant.

It's unclear whether Chuck Dixon intended to use her beyond the No Man's Land crossover. Regardless, she was a striking addition to Poison Ivy's family for however long.

• Batman Villain Secret Files #1
• Batman: No Man's Land (Ground Zero) #0
• Detective Comics #751
• Detective Comics #752
• Young Justice, Young Justice in No Man's Land #1


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