Review: All-Star Batman #7

allstarbatman7coverIn All-Star Batman #7, talented artist Tula Lotay joins writer Scott Snyder to spin a Batman and Poison Ivy tale that is both cold and beautiful. They characterize Poison Ivy as a woman, who just wants people to feel good about themselves and finds special cures through her intense botanical studies. Except, her special relationship with plants can also be used as a weapon, both physically and mentally, and she uses them in this way from the opening scene. However, unlike Two-Face and Mr. Freeze in previous issues, she is the most receptive to working with Batman to help a young girl, who was killed by a remnant of Mr. Freeze’s biological weapon from All-Star Batman #6.

Lotay uses a variety of color tones to reflect Poison Ivy’s shifting moods from golden eyes as she hypnotizes a pushy shop owner to not tell the authorities about her presence (And to pay for his son’s art school.) to angry pinks and purples as she finds out that Batman is using her pity for the young girl to help him to stop this virus. Snyder’s choice of setting is quite poetic as Poison Ivy is nurturing a “Tree of Life” in Death Valley that is sadly interrupted when the Blackhawks come in to take her for questioning. It’s an intrusion of the superhero genre into an intimate, and educational conversation about the nature of life, and the power of botany to restore and inspire people

Lotay draws Poison Ivy like a nature goddess with the makeup under her eyes reminiscent to her take on Morrigan and Tara in her The Wicked + The Divine guest issue, and everything that she does in this issue is to preserve plant life while defeating the humans that would get in her way. The fights in All-Star Batman aren’t strictly laid out in grids, but flow seamlessly with Ivy’s plant tendrils feeling like a natural defense response instead of a punch being thrown. The desert sand and light brown colors around her and Batman continue to add to that feeling of conflict between human and nature with Batman taking nature’s side in this case.

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In his plots for both Batman and All-Star Batman, Scott Snyder likes using race-the-clock, cure the virus type storylines that have started to wear thin in a similar manner to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s obsession with stopping the portal/putting the thing in the thing third acts. Except this repetitiveness in plot type is more than remedied in Snyder’s portrayal of Batman and Poison Ivy’s relationship in All-Star Batman #7 that goes from a simple hero/villain battle to working together as allies, but definitely not friends. There are callbacks to her origin where Ivy tells Batman that she focused on the manipulative side of her plant pheromones because this is what she thought Bruce Wayne wanted even though he was more interested in her holistic approach to finding medicine from plants from the cold bark to the beautiful flower.

All-Star Batman #7 concludes with a wonderful Francesco Francavilla-drawn backup story featuring Duke Thomas’ continuing efforts to come to terms with his own relationship to Batman’s villains (The Riddler in this case) that continues to be laid out like a crossword puzzle. But All-Star Batman #7 is truly Poison Ivy and Tula Lotay’s party as she captures the beauty, intelligence, and passion of this complex scientist/antihero/nature goddess, whose abilities are more blessing than curse for once. This is all handled through her gaze (Not Batman’s) with many panels of her eyes conveying different emotions in different colors.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Tula Lotay, Francesco Francavilla
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.2  Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review