Review – Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5: Gotham Goes Green

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5 – Jody Houser, Writer; Adriana Melo, Penciller; Mark Morales, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: Who Is This Ivy?

Ray: As we hit Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5, the penultimate issue of Harley and Ivy’s road-trip mini, it’s time to head back to Gotham for a showdown with Floronic Man. The evil new Avatar of the Green has done what Ivy never could – taken over Gotham with an army of plant monsters, a crime almost everyone is blaming Ivy for.

That includes Batwoman, who confronts the two semi-reformed supervillainesses as they arrive in the city. The main strength of this series is Harley and Ivy’s teamwork, which Houser infuses with a great lived-in dynamic that feels like they could be long-term girlfriends. Even amid the craziness of this book, there has been a lot of fun dialogue as they evade whatever the road throws at them. This issue is more action-packed, though, as the two fight against an army of tree monsters serving as Woodrue’s minions. Adriana Melo draws some great monsters, which goes a long way to keep this issue exciting.

One of the strengths of this series is how it juggles the various eras of Harley and Ivy’s characterization. Harley has long since reformed and is a mainstay in the DCU now, but Ivy jumps back and forth between hero and villain regularly. Little details like the way people react with fear when they see her, even when she’s saving their life, help to push this series and her character forward. I’m hoping Houser gets to continue working with these characters after next issue, or a new writer picks up on what she’s building. It seems like there’s a real hunger for a heroic protagonist version of Ivy that DC hasn’t quite taken advantage of yet. The ending is a head-scratcher, a big twist that seems like it might be too big to resolve with only one issue left. But an ambitious final issue is a good sign that DC is ready to build on the success of this series and give us more of these two as a pairing.

Vacation album. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: I don’t know if Harley’s utterly reformed. She certainly doesn’t play by all the rules and has shown to be willing to murder in her own series. But, yes, her heart’s in the right place.

There were a few things concerning Ivy that disturbed me in Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #5. The biggest one is showing Ivy able to destroy plants. She’s not happy about it but, even so, hurting plants goes against every established characterization of Ivy. She might defend Harley, a loved one, against plants that attack but I have doubts whether she’d do it to save herself or even to get revenge on Floronic Man.

It’s entirely possible Ivy did this because she’s not yet whole, as hinted at on the last page, in which case I withdraw my objection. Still, this miniseries has done a fine job with Harley and some of her lines with Batwoman made me laugh out loud.

But Ivy has suffered from far more erratic characterization.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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