Poison Ivy, Vol. 1: The Virtuous Cycle by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I looked at my shelves and realized I hadn’t read anything that focused solely on Poison Ivy (exempting the newest graphic novel from the YA section, Thorns). Then when I went looking, I found a noticeable absence of comics in the first place. She’s always played a secondary role to someone else – whether as a villain or a partner. An odd revelation given the amount of power she holds, both physically and emotionally. To say nothing of the complications of her character; how do you condemn someone whose motives are, ultimately, benign?

This volume takes everything I’ve always wondered and lays it out beautifully. The lines of morality are as blurred as you’d expect for Poison Ivy, and the questions she raises leave you wondering why she’s so often shifted to the side of the supervillain. Because her view of the world is valid! (And let me just take a moment to stand in complete awe of the sheer beauty Ms. Wilson brings to the plant world through this narrative – and I’m not even a fan of plants!) Ivy’s plan is an elegant love letter to anyone who’s looked at the planet’s decay and felt completely hopeless.

The writing is deceivingly calm yet wrenches every thread in the emotional tapestry. It leads you into the complicated nightmare of Ivy’s mental destruction, and Ms. Wilson presents it in such a way that you can’t help but find sympathy for Ivy’s ultimate plans. It’s a subtle snare, and I sat up way too late because of it.

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