Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #6 – Jody Houser, Writer; Adriana Melo, Penciller; Mark Morales, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: So..Breakup? Evil?
Ray: Over the course of this miniseries, we’ve been following Harley and Ivy on a surprisingly low-stakes road trip. They head from stop to stop, deal with another villain trying to exploit Ivy, and stay ahead of the Floronic Man. But last issue threw everything for a loop in the cliffhanger as they were confronted not with the expected villain, but with another version of Ivy controlling the rogue vegetation. In Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #6, It turns out that the “Ivy” Harley has been taking along with her on the road trip has been one of many “Ivies” that were grown by Luthor’s restoration formula. Most of them were destroyed in the fire, but this one survived and without Harley has become a representation of everything Ivy hates about humanity. It feels almost meta – this is literally the battle between the villainous Ivy and the heroic Ivy to determine who will control her personality and the direction of the character.
Needless to say, this is a tense debate in the fandom itself, and Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #6 goes out of its way not to answer it. I wonder if Houser was essentially a bridge writer, giving us a crowd-pleasing miniseries before Ivy’s direction is determined by someone on a bigger writer. She seems to get those assignments a lot, but always does an excellent job with them. The evil Ivy tries to portray the events of the series as Harley manipulating her, but it’s clear that the other one has more agency than is being made out. Ivy’s nature, being something both more and less than human, makes it extremely easy for every writer to revamp her character and this series leans into that. The ending has a melancholy tone that leaves Ivy’s fate unresolved and the Harley/Ivy romance (because, let’s be real, that’s what it is) in limbo. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but a strong finish that leaves the door open for a future reunion.
Corrina: The ending of this series seems to have been a foregone conclusion, at least so I read from Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #6. With this series, DC now has a story to show that Harley wants to be a hero, and it also has the ability to make Poison Ivy either a hero or a villain, depending on the whims of the writing and editorial.
I could stomach this ending perhaps better if the series as a whole had been stellar but I’d call it good to very good, with the ending’s foregone conclusion messing with any of the good moments. Harley & Ivy are one of DC’s few LGBTQA+ couples and, to break them up, DC basically made one of them go crazy. (And it wasn’t Harley but rather the stable member of the pairing.)
So, overall, disappointing on many levels. It leaves Harley in a good place, I suppose, but the series continued the deconstruction of Ivy as a strong character and reduced her to, well, a crazed split personality.
The art, however, does a fine job of not only showing the difference between the two Ivys but also Harley’s despair at somehow doing the wrong thing.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.