Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Flower Girl

The Batman Adventures (vol. 2) comic book was published from 2003-2004 and it showcased characters and designs based on The New Batman Adventures animated television show.

Issue #16 deals with Harley Quinn and the Joker in the main story by Ty Templeton titled "Bride of the Joker". The backup story is focused on Poison Ivy but we'll get to that soon enough...

The main story begins with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn lazing about their cell at Blackgate Prison. Harley is going thru her box of letters paying special mind to a document regarding her fifty million dollar inheritance from a deceased aunt. The Joker learns of this windfall and plans for Harley Quinn's escape, her hand in marriage, and her murder.

As the crazy couple attemps to make their exit from Blackgate Poison Ivy intervenes and tries to talk sense into Harley. The Joker mocks Poison Ivy and her new vine-like hairdo - then Mr. J and Harley flee via helicopter. Ivy also escapes and plots revenge on the killer clown.

Poison Ivy shakes her thorny fist at a smiling helicopter. Huh?

Gotham City Hall is taken over by the Joker and his fiancé but just before Harley says "I do" Poison Ivy crashes in to object! Things go from bad to worse the moment Batman and Batgirl arrive on the scene.

Batgirl and Poison Ivy wrestle atop a giant vine before falling to the ground. Now outdoors, Batgirl realizes she is outmatched so she runs over to a concession stand and grabs salt and a bottle of vinegar - natures own weedkiller! She throws the ingredients directly into Poison Ivy's face and she's painfully blinded. Ivy reacts violently and thorns shoot from every surface of her body before running from the scene.

The story closes out with the Joker being arrested and Harley vowing revenge against Ivy for ruining her wedding. An exchange between Batman and Batgirl is also noteworthy...
Batgirl: Ivy got away Batman. All the trees calmed down when she left. I never knew she was so powerful.

Batman: We'll have to go after Ivy immediately. She's too dangerous in her new form to be allowed her freedom.
This is a rare instance of Poison Ivy's altered physical appearance and powers from "Batman the Animated Series" to "The New Batman Adventures" being acknowledged - as a mutation no less. A theme that was carried over to the very clever backup titled "The Flower Girl". The four page backup story was also written by Ty Templeton and he made great use of the limited space.

"The Flower Girl" takes us to the bayou swamps as the silhouette of a woman stands under the moonlight - spying on a house just across the water. She's afraid and in need of help. We discover that it's Poison Ivy as she arrives at the home of Dr. Alec Holland.

Ivy's appearance has changed. Her vanity gave way to a body that is being taken over - the half-plant nature has betrayed her human side. The experiments that Poison Ivy has performed on herself have led to devolution. She cries out to the doctor for help but there is nothing he can do. Poison Ivy collapses in Alec Holand's arms as final mutation takes place. What's left of Pamela Isley, a.k.a. Poison Ivy, is a pile of vines and leaves.

The clever twist happens just as Dr. Holland calls out for his wife who quickly arrives from the other room. Why...it's none other than Pamela Isley in her human form!

Pamela explains to her husband Alec that she created a plant clone of her Poison Ivy persona to distract Batman while she made a permanent exit from Gotham City. She also adds that the creature acted as a companion to Harley Quinn. But like any plant...they eventually die. In short, The New Batman Adventures Poison Ivy was a fake.

Here is the four page story in full (to magnify pages zoom in, click on cross-hairs):

I remember reading this for the first time back in 2004 and I was left speechless. It was a rather strange feeling seeing various aspects of the DCAU mixed with elements from DC proper - and have it totally work as a short story.

When TNBA premiered I always felt like that particular version of Poison lvy strayed just enough from her BTAS counterpart to seem like a different character. With The New Batman Adventures version being the especially mean sister of the two. Ty Templeton took my vague impressions and created a story - The Flower Girl - and it's awesome. The inclusion of Alec Holland was a nice touch.

The Batman Adventures was cancelled after issue #17. We'll never know if Harley Quinn ever got her revenge on Poison Ivy or if she ever realized her playmate wasn't the woman she had met years ago. Though the idea that Pamela Isley found love and comfort away from Gotham City is endearing.


stucktomyshoes. said...

This is an interesting take on explaining the change in her skin but, She had the light green skin in the mad love episode.

Deadly Garden said...

"Flower Girl" is not claiming that she suddenly turned green for the first time during THIS backup story. Ty Templeton is trying to explain updates in Poison Ivy's style sheet during the transition from "Batman the Animated Series" to "The New Batman Adventures". It was an attempt to put the mutated skin in a context because that physical change was never officially addressed on the show.

Consider "Flower Girl" a reimagined tale that - if put into DCAU canon - would mean that a Poison Ivy plant clone replaced the human Ivy before Mad Love. That's why she appeared green in that episode.

Anonymous said...

This comic literally made me upset.

My absolite FAVORITE version of Ivy is the green skinned vamp from the remake in the cartoons.

This just...made me sick. It felt like they brushed off all the awesome Harley and Ivy adventures, everything!

I will forever not consider this as real canon...in my head at least.

Marcos "Salsa" Bolton said...

I'm looking for an image of a giant animated tree created by Poison Ivy, anyone will do. Could you help me with that? Thanks!

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