The Arkham Files: Poison Ivy

From the vault at Arkham Asylum for the criminally insane.

Arkham File: Poison Ivy

History:

Pamela Lillian Isley was never confident in her physical appearance which lead her to become quiet and withdrawn. Taking up botany as a way to escape the world, she grew to love working with her plants. Despite the fact that she had her plants she also had an obsession with men and wanted their affection and devotion. She could not achieve this though and it pushed her further into time with her plants. This also lead to her being taken advantage of by her former college professor, Dr. Jason Woodrue.

Using her insecurities and desire for affection, Woodrue proceeded to experiment on Isley in an attempt to create a plant/human hybrid. He succeeded and the result was that Pamela could now control the Green around her and she formed a special kinship with it. Not only did it give her these abilities, but also changed her appearance becoming a beauty that could capture the hearts of those around her. In addition, giving her skin a green tint as a result of the chlorophyll, that replaced her blood, flowing through her veins.

Using her new powers over the Green, she used it to get what she wanted and to manipulate others the way she had been. Of course being in Gotham this caught the eye of the Batman, whom Pamela, now going by Poison Ivy, became fascinated with. This led her to embrace her new identity, but soon abandoned her obsession with the Dark Knight due to his resistance to her pheromones and feminine wiles. She then retreated back to the Green, which has become what she cares for most and does whatever it takes to protect, even when it endangers humankind.

Analysis:

Poison Ivy is obsessed with plant life and her level of devotion has lead her to do whatever it takes to protect her plants. This had constantly put her at odds with the superhero community, but has also lead her to aiding it based on what is at stake. While she has appeared to show some care and compassion for certain humans, no one has ever been able to unseat the Green as the most important thing in her life.

Her initial attraction to the Batman eventually turned into a fierce hatred for always getting in her way. The only other person that has seemed to break through to her once human self would be Harleen Quinzel, also known as Harley Quinn. Their friendship has at times been a help, but also a hindrance to her interpersonal skills that have regressed since becoming Poison Ivy.

Many of her problems could be stemming mostly from the experiment that changed her, but is also evident that much of it was just enhanced because of it. She views mankind as a plague to nature and fears that they will kill it. She can be content with just being off with her plants, but has shown time and again that she will stop at nothing make sure that they thrive. She is both feminine and inhuman at the same time. And her emotions are both unstable and mercurial showing that she is a creature of contradiction, as well as being obsessive and compulsive. Any long period of time away from her plants would most likely have a major effect on her already shaky mental state.

Overall Thoughts:

Pamela Isley does show signs that there is some humanity left inside her, but her actions make it appear that little of it is getting through. She would be willing to help out when it suits her own agenda, but has went from an environmental activist to an eco-terrorist. It doesn’t appear that she is beyond hope of being rehabilitated, but the further she retreats into the Green, the less likely it will happen.

Case Files for Further Study:

Batman #181 (1966)

Poison Ivy debuts in Gotham City, proclaiming herself public enemy number one and catching the eye of the Dark Knight.

Batman #344 (1982)

Poison Ivy truly develops her plant-based powers as she attempts to destroy the Wayne Foundation.

Batman: Poison Ivy #1 (1997)

Poison Ivy’s origin is retold for a modern audience, placing her first appearance much earlier in Batman’s career.

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #88, Batman #568, Detective Comics #735 (1999)

Poison Ivy gains a green skin tone as she take over Robinson Park during the No Man’s Land cataclysm.

Birds of Prey #1 (2011)

Poison Ivy joins the new Birds of Prey team and is a dedicated member, but only until she no longer had any use for them.

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