Horror, Mystery, and Love – “Poison Ivy: Thorns” Graphic Novel Review
Poison Ivy: Thorns is a DC Comics Young Adult Graphic novel featuring one of Gotham’s most famous characters as we don’t often see her. This is a story about Pamela Isley’s life as a teenager who doesn’t really fit in, learning about herself and who she wants to be with a healthy dose of horror and romance mixed in. A perfect read for Pride Month.
I was provided with a free ARC of Poison Ivy: Thorns. The opinions I have shared are my own.
As a Batman and Batfamily fan, I would consider myself somewhat familiar with the character of Poison Ivy, but I don’t feel that there is as much written about her as some of the more popular Gotham villains. So for me, I really enjoyed learning more about the character through this book. It’s definitely written in a way like most of DC Comics’ young adult line that would make it easy for anyone to pick up and read without getting lost.
Please note that there will be some spoilers below.
Poison Ivy: Thorns begins with Pamela Isley in the woods at midnight. She was upset because she could not stop construction from happening in the local park. She is there to both apologize to the plants and to leave a gaseous substance to make the people responsible for the deforestation suffer. What she did ends up on the news the next morning and the authorities suspect it was an act of ecoterrorism. Pamela’s father knowns she is responsible as there were some things in his lab had been tampered with.
When Pamela gets to school, the boy she went to homecoming with is trying to pressure her into going out with him again. She’s not interested, but he’s really pushy. A goth girl named Alice thankfully comes to her defense and he eventually leaves her alone. Little does Pamela know, but the gas she decided to drop in the park has displaced Alice from her home and Pamela later finds out that Alice will be staying at her house for the time being.
This complicates things for Pamela and her father as they do a lot of strange experiments at night that others cannot know about. The reader also does not find out just exactly why they are doing these things at first either. However, it doesn’t take too long for Alice to discover that something just isn’t right at the Isley residence. But that doesn’t destroy the love that Alice has for Pamela and they become closer as the story progresses. In fact she encourages Pamela to be the person she is, which leads to some pretty surprising events.
Poison Ivy: Thorns is written by New York Times bestselling author, Kody Keplinger. Kody does a really excellent job writing a spooky, socially aware story. Pamela is going through many of the things teenagers go through today such as not fitting in at school, dealing with bullies and people who do not accept the word “no,” having a sick family member, trying to make friends, learning about oneself, and being proud of who you are.
Sara Kipin who is an illustrator and visual developer provides the art for Poison Ivy: Thorns. Her art contains a lot of solid lines and has a very clean look. Paired with Jeremy Lawson’s darker colors, the use of shadows, and having Pamela often hiding behind her hair really adds to the mystery and horror of the story. The letters by Steve Wands also fit so perfectly with the spooky atmosphere. My absolute favorite part of the art is the design for the Isely home. It’s very reminiscent of the Addams Family home and other houses used in horror movies.
Poison Ivy: Thorns is intended for teens ages 13-17. There aren’t too many warnings for this book despite its darker gothic horror nature. Pamela does encounter men in her life who want things from her that she is not willing to give, and she deals with them. There is also some murder and a very sick family member.
Overall, I found Poison Ivy: Thorns to be a very enjoyable read. I loved learning more about Poison Ivy in a story different from what I usually experience her in. The story was dark, mysterious, and scary, but also filled with some hope for Pamela in the end. She now knows who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Sure, her ideas are unconventional, dangerous, and lead her down a criminal path, but that makes for some interesting storytelling!
I highly recommend this Pride Month read to anyone who is a Poison Ivy fan or for those looking to get to know the character better. It’s a story full of mystery, horror, murder, and love. A surprisingly good combination!
Poison Ivy: Thorns is available today from DC, comic book shops, local and online indie bookstores, and your local library and their digital apps.
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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