Issue 161 – Poison Ivy

Issue 161 – Poison Ivy post thumbnail image

This show is going green, as we cover POISON IVY with the help of licensed therapist Sara Boyadjis!

  • Intro
    • Sara – give us your background
  • Background (2:54)
    • Poison Ivy, Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, created by Robert Kanigher & Carmine Infantino in Batman #181 (June 1966)
    • Originally a botanist who was poisoned to prevent her from implicating a colleague in a theft, she survived and learned she was immune to toxins – attacked Gotham to prove she was the greatest female super villain ever
    • Reimagined post-Crisis by Neil Gaiman, Pamela Isley was mentored in biochemistry by Dr. Jason Woodrue (Floronic Man), and was colleagues with Alec Holland (Swamp Thing)
    • Woodrue seduces her and injects her with toxins as an experiment – she is hospitalized, and when she recovers she vacillates quickly between kindness and rage
    • The experiments also give her the ability to manipulate plants, and her touch can transfer a fungus that gives her a control over people
    • She becomes obsessed with Batman, as he is one of the only people she cannot control due to his strong will, although she has overcome him on occasion
    • Woodrue breaks Ivy out of Arkham to help him create mind-controlling hemp to take over Gotham, but she sides with Batman, who decapitates Woodrue, as she takes the money and runs away – whole storyline was Very Special Episode about drugs
    • In “No Man’s Land”, after Gotham is hit by an earthquake and isolated from the rest of the US, Ivy takes over Robinson Park, and turns it into an Eden-esque paradise – she also takes several orphans under her wing – she strikes a deal with Batman to maintain control over the area, as long as she grows food for the rest of the population
    • This is when she first meets Harley Quinn, left for dead by the Joker – Ivy nurses Harley back to health, and the two become close friends
    • After thinking her powers were poisoning the children in her care, she asks Bruce Wayne to help reverse her powers and make her human – she later regains her powers thanks to Hush, although the procedure temporarily kills her (she gets better) #BecauseComics
    • New 52 reboots her origin – she was born with a skin condition that kept her isolated, her father murdered her mother, and in college she sold pheromone pills that mind controlled users – she later joined Wayne Enterprises to study biochemistry, but was the victim of an accidental chemical spill that gave her the ability to control plant matter
    • Creates plant-human hybrid children that grow at an accelerated rate – the children leave Ivy and go off on their own
    • Eventually settles in as antihero, focusing on environmental activism
    • Establishes a relationship with Harley Quinn, but the two break it off after Ivy reveals she loves the planet more than any one person on it
  • Issues – Opportunities for natural growth
    • The greener she gets, the more misanthropic she gets
    • Two specific carve outs: first Bruce, based more as an obsession (18:02)
    • Harley relationship humanizes them both, and is the healthiest one either of them has (27:12)
  • Break (40:42)
    • Plugs for Grief Burrito, Frigay the 13th, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson
  • Treatment (42:14)
    • In-universe – Have Ivy create an area by herself, where she can be alone with plants, and slowly integrate other people
    • Out of universe (49:00) – Address individual with god complex
  • Skit (54:05)
    • DOC: Hello Dr. Isley, I’m Dr. Issues
    • IVY: Thanks for remembering I have a doctorate. 
    • DOC: My experience tells me that no matter what has happened to a person, their training sticks with them. Credentials come and go.
    • IVY: Sounds like the seasons. Spring and fall, winter and summer. They tend to pair up that way, don’t you think? I know it’s common to think of the full cycle, but that’s not how nature works for things to grow.
    • DOC: Some things offset, sure. Now, what can I do for you? 
    • IVY: As a person, probably little. But as fertilizer, maybe you’re up to snuff.
    • DOC: *sarcastic* And there are those famous thorny barbs I’ve heard so much about. 
    • IVY: Force of habit. 
    • DOC: I heard the opposite; you wait for someone to put their guard down, and then you manipulate them or trap them.
    • IVY: You’re bringing up ancient history. Those roots have withered. I’m in this world for much bigger purposes.
    • DOC: Well, maybe I can help with your mindset and goals. Keep you emotionally focused, right?
    • IVY: Emotion doesn’t matter when you have a world to save. Your experience with…others should have taught you that.
    • DOC: Too many to name
    • IVY: You only need one. You KNOW who I’m talking about.
    • DOC: *pause* There’s an easy answer, and there’s a hard answer. Which do you want first?
    • IVY: *irritable* I’m not a child waiting for guessing games *calms down*…but if you must know, always handle the thorns first so the delicate petals bloom.
    • DOC: Hard first then. *sigh* I’m not talking about Harley.
    • IVY: *surprised* But she sent me here! She said you put up with all sorts of…nonsense that drives the Arkham therapists bonkers. And she doesn’t trust people…EVER. Neither do I. So…who?
    • DOC: I can’t give their name, because it’s not mine to give.
    • IVY: I knew it. You’re a stooge! You don’t care about her, or me, or the planet, do you? You just want to be another one of his…lapdog Bat children that miss the forest AND the trees. It was a mistake coming here.
    • DOC: WAIT! Wait…you didn’t hear the easy part.
    • IVY: *sigh, clearly angry* make it quick
    • DOC: I agree that you can be a part of saving the world, with the right tools.
    • IVY: You realize you put me through unnecessary anguish by getting your priorities mixed up, right?
    • DOC: *gulp* I apologize, okay? I want this to work, but I’m not going to shy away from your blindspots. What would it take for you to trust me on this?
    • IVY: Tell me about these tools of yours. 
    • DOC: Well…this may not be what you want to hear, but there are some medications that-
    • IVY: *interrupting* I’m immune to toxins, control pheromones, and learned the essence of life itself, and you want to talk about medication?!!! Do you know the harm that Big Pharma has done to humankind, let alone the plant kingdom? How dare you!
    • DOC: Please! It’s not what you think! *stuttering due to fear* e-e-e-ever heard of St John’s Wort?
    • IVY: Of course. It’s a common natural supplement for those with depression.
    • DOC: And psilocybin? 
    • IVY: Good old “magic mushrooms.” Had to keep Harley from trying to bury herself into the ground…she called herself “mother earth.”  Not something to play with.
    • DOC: How about kratom
    • IVY: Are you insane?! Nobody should touch that stuff without knowing the psychological effects even if there’s anecdotal evidence for pain…where are you going with this?
    • DOC: That plants are the essence of all medicine, and we know it. YOU know it. I wouldn’t dare prescribe any of the things mentioned without more study because it’s too dangerous without more information. But that doesn’t mean people who care…I mean REALLY care, aren’t trying to find out. 
    • IVY: After everything I’ve done in my life, you think a review board would allow me to participate in any such research? I’m banned for life!
    • DOC: …and when has that mattered before? 
    • IVY: You’d be risking your license on someone who is a lost cause.
    • DOC: No, I’m not saying you should DO the research, I’m saying you should be a PART of the research.
    • IVY: You want me to be a guinea pig. You’re evil, you know that? You are no better than any of the fossil industry moguls that strip the planet bare. You would have me die on the vine rather than produce fruit for the world!
    • DOC: No, no, no…you don’t get it…I’m trusting you with your gift. You’re IMMUNE.
    • IVY: *pause* My body can process things that others can’t…filter out the danger…and only leave what’s left if there’s a way to…extract it without turning me into a green slurry in a food processor.
    • DOC: Ewww…but yes. You could be the source of a natural treatment process that eliminates the stigma of medication management, improves the safety, AND helps with your…let’s just say, mood lability.
    • IVY: And you could do all of that…for me?
    • DOC: actually…no.
    • IVY: *angry* WHAT???
    • DOC: WAIT! Again! My point is that your own version of the world can include those types of goals in the long run, but we can’t do that yet. And we sure can’t do it alone. You have an opportunity to prove me wrong, but we have to meet somewhere in the middle. I have approved safe treatments that help. You have a grand scheme for how the planet should be. Can we meet somewhere in the middle?
    • IVY: *calmer* You’re weird, you know that?
    • DOC: Compared to…
    • IVY: True…perhaps we can work on crossbreeding pollinators with aerosolized melatonin. The possibilities are endless.
    • DOC: An apple a day could truly keep the doctor away. Well, most of them.
    • ***dream sequence sounds*** 
    • IVY: Doctor? Doctor? 
    • DOC: *snoring*
    • IVY: Oh dear, I forgot to tell him to use a filtration system for his office. Those pheromones will give him some incredibly odd dreams. I’ll have to keep a note of that since most people just become mindless drones. Perhaps there’s something unique in his genetic makeup or blood chemistry…
    • DOC: *whispering while sleeping* Lithium in lilacs, who could say no?
    • IVY: Hoo boy… And I STILL didn’t get the easy or hard answers out of him. On the bright side, these ramblings make for fascinating research. I will say these sessions are worth my time, at least a little bit. 
  • Ending (60:54)
    • Recommended reading: Fruit of the Earth, part of No Man’s Land
    • Next episodes: Moira McTaggert, Gladiator, Raven
    • Plugs for social



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