Pamela Lillian Isley (Poison Ivy)

poisonivyfilmLast character appeared in Gotham trailer, and this was quite an unexpected one: at the every end of the trailer, when we’re given a collection of future appearances, we see a red-haired girl, accompanied by the notice “Before Poison Ivy“: it is clearly Pamela Isley (even if some sources claim she’ll be renamed Ivy Pepper in the show, but I keep hoping it’s just a joke), portrayed by young Clare Foley. As for now, it’s unknown what kind of role she’ll have in the show, or even if she’ll be a recurring character or not. We can hope this appearance will be better than her previous live action one: in Batman & Robin, she was portrayed by Uma Thurman in quite a campy and idiotic way, a scientist almost killed by her colleague Jason Woodrue, but actually transformed into a poisonous femme fatale who formed an alliance with Mr. Freeze to conquer Gotham City and destroy Batman and Robin. She’s defeated by Batgirl at the end of the movie, along with her slave, a brainless Bane. Don’t worry, the comics version is much better: let’s see together.

Pamela Lillian Isley was born in Seattle from very unemotional and distant parents: this difficult familiar situation brought her to be craving for affection even during adulthood, making her easily manipulable by men without scruples. During her childhood poisonivycomics1and adolescence, she grew quite a fondness for plants, the only living beings she didn’t feel rejected by, and she studied to become a renowned botanist. In her first origin story, she was seduced by robber Marc LeGrande, and helped him steal an ancient Egyptian artifact containing mystical herbs; LeGrande, however, didn’t want witnesses, and tried to poison her using the herbs. Pamela survived, and she found out she had become immune to any poison or toxin; embittered towards men, she started a feminist crusade against males as Poison Ivy. In the second, and currently acknowledged one, Pamela entered university to study under Dr. Jason Woodrue’s tutelage. The older professor exploited the brilliant student’s need of affection, seduced her, and forced her to be a guinea pig for his deranged experiments: he repeatedly infected her with plant toxins, venom and poisons, proceeding in his own research of a man-plant hybridization. The experiments soon became more similar to tortures, and Isley nearly died a couple of times, spending in hospitals nearly a year. When Pamela’s condition was discovered, Woodrue became wanted from police, and escaped. Feeling betrayed, Pamela tried to start a new life, and began dating a boy her age, but her physiology had been drastically mutated, and her new boyfriend’s lungs ended up being suddenly covered by mushrooms. Pamela left school, and studied her new body and abilities. Driven insane by Woodrue’s experiments and the effect these had on her life, she slowly embraced an identity that made her closer to her beloved plants than to humans, and she became known as Poison Ivy.

Poison Ivy discovered she was able to control any man using naturally-produced pheromones, and she was also psychically bonded to every plant (having become barren after Woodrue’s experiments, she treated plants and flowers like her children). poisonivycomics2Following the “screams” of plants, Pamela arrived in Gotham City, one of the world’s most urbanized and polluted environments: she threatened the entire city with lethal spores, demanding better rights for plants, but she was ultimately defeated by the city’s new vigilante, Batman. She was locked into Arkham Asylum, a place that would have become her second home. She escaped soon after, and she settled on a desert Caribbean island, where she used both her powers and her botanical knowledge to create the green paradise she had always dreamt of. Unfortunately, a weapon corporation decided to test their new armament on that very island, and Pamela’s paradise was burnt to ashes by a bombardment. Saddened and enraged, merely alive, Poison Ivy came back to Gotham, and killed the owners of the company and the ones who had decided the target of the test; when her killing spree ended, she let herself be captured by Batman, and brought back to Arkham. The experience taught her that the world wasn’t a safe place for plants anymore, and that she would have never left Gotham again before she had “purified” it. She became one of the world’s most notorious and dangerous ecoterrorist on the planet. With her powers constantly evolving, Ivy soon became far too a dangerous menace for Batman to face alone, and the entire Justice League learnt to fear her, especially when she entered the Injustice Gang… of course, for the sake of the planet only.

Pamela Isley started as a deeply insecure woman, but her thirst of affection evolved into a blind rage towards men and their deceits, and into a will of payback made possible by her newfound powers. She can be very empathetic and sweet sometimes, but cold and cruel some others, an emotional instability that is part of the legacy from the experiments she went through. As Poison Ivy, she’s a lethal plant protector, able to manipulate and control plants, forcing them to obey her will; she also emits powerful pheromones able to mind-control men and women alike. Aside from being immune to any known toxin or poison, Poison Ivy is poisonous herself: she can transmit powerful venom through her skin, and she usually prefers to use her lips, performing what ends up being an actual killer kiss. A proficient hand-to-hand combatant and a genius botanist, Ivy feeds on light and water, becoming with time more and more similar to the plants she loves: from her point of view, that’s quite an evolution.


  1. Pingback: Bane | Who's Who

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