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Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, a botanist from Seattle, was once a very intelligent, yet naive, college student who knew just about everything about plants -- that is, until her professor, Dr. Jason Woodrue (aka the Floronic Man) conducted experiments upon her by seducing her with words of love. The experiments placed toxins in her blood stream that make her touch deadly and allow her to be immune to all poisons, viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The experiments also allowed her to produce mind-control pheromones that drove men wild at her touch. They also made her barren, and she has treated her plants as children, mothering them, ever since.
Woodrue fled the authorities, leaving Pamela in the hospital for six months. Enraged at the betrayal, Pamela suffered violent mood swings. After her boyfriend got into a car accident after mysteriously suffering from a massive fungal overgrowth, Isley dropped out of school and left Seattle, eventually setting roots down in Gotham City.
Her first act: threatening to release her deadly spores into the air unless the city met her demands. Thus, she became infamous as Poison Ivy. The Batman, who had appeared in Gotham that very same year, subdued her and thwarted her scheme, resulting in her incarceration in Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. Despite Gotham's perpetual night, Ivy remained. As the years went on, the naïveté of Pamela Isley faded as the hardness that comes with a criminal lifestyle progressed. She would become more plant-like year by year. To this day, over a decade later, she still remains a thorn in Batman's side.
A few years after her arrival, she would try to leave Gotham forever, escaping Arkham to settle on a desert island in the Caribbean. She molded the barren wasteland into a second Eden, and was, for the first time in her life, happy. It was soon firebombed, however, when an American-owned corporation tested their weapons systems out on what they thought was an abandoned island. Ivy then returned to Gotham with a vengeance, punishing those responsible. After willing apprehension by Batman, she resolved that she could never leave Gotham, at least not until the world was safe for plants. From then on, she dedicated herself to the impossible mission of purifying Gotham (considered the most polluted city in America).
In some adaptations she can control plants. For example, in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell she was able to manipulate plants telepathically, using roots to form supports for a tunnel she and another inmate named Magpie were digging to escape, and also spawning glowing fungi to entertain Magpie.
Poison Ivy was a member of the original Injustice Gang of the World, which fought the Justice League on several occasions. She also joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains for a mission against the Justice League. Years later, she was coerced into being a member of the Suicide Squad. During this time she used her abilities to enslave Count Vertigo.
She also has been friends with The Joker's sidekick Harley Quinn. Unlike most villain team-ups, their partnership seems to be genuinely rooted in friendship, and Ivy really wants to save Harley from her abusive relationship with The Joker.
Robinson Park Orphans
Another positive side of her was shown when she took care of some children after an earthquake that leveled Gotham City left them orphans. They resided in Robinson Park, which had been a polluted haven for junkies and prostitutes before Ivy arrived. She came to love the children like sons and daughters, protecting them from danger. After Gotham City reopened to the public, the city wanted to evict her from the park and send her back to Arkham Asylum. They also mistakenly believed that the orphans in Ivy's care were unwilling hostages. The Gotham City Police Department threatened to spray the park with a powerful herbicide that most certainly would have killed every living plant in the park, including Ivy, and more than likely do harm to the children as well. Ivy refused to leave the park to the city and let them destroy the Eden she had created, so she chose martyrdom. It was only after Rose, one of the orphans, was accidentally poisoned by Ivy that the hardened eco-terrorist surrendered herself to the authorities in order to save Rose's life. Batman stated that Ivy was still more plant than human.
Poison Ivy recently came to believe that her powers were killing the children she looked after, so she got Batman to reverse her powers and make her a normal human being once more. Soon after she was convinced by Hush to take another serum to restore her powers and apparently died in the process. However, when her grave was visited it was covered with vine and ivy, creating the impression her death would be short-lived. A short time later Poison Ivy returned in Gotham Central #32 , killing some corrupt cops who killed one of her orphans, though whether this takes place before or after the aforementioned storyline is unknown.
One Year Later
"One Year Later", Ivy is alive and active. Her control over flora has increased, referred to as being on a par with Swamp Thing or the Floronic Man. She also appears to have resumed her crusade against the corporate enemies of the environment with a new fanaticism, regarding Batman no longer as a main opponent, but as a 'hindrance'.
Detective Comics #823 reveals that Ivy has been feeding people including "tiresome lovers", "incompetent henchmen", and those who "returned her smile" to a giant plant which would digest the victims slowly and painfully. She refers to it as a "guilty pleasure". In an unprecedented event, her victims' souls merge with the plant, creating a botanical monster called Harvest, who seeks revenge upon Ivy. With the intervention of Batman, however, she is saved. Ivy is left in critical condition, and the whereabouts of Harvest are unknown.
She catches the Trickster and Pied Piper eating fruits in one of her gardens. Her plants then tell her the men hurt them and she proceeds to ensnare them and kill them, if not for the intervention of Deathstroke.
Poison Ivy is thought to have been recruited by Libra for his Secret Society of Super Villains, later she is seen as a being controlled by the Anti-Life Equation and direct confrontation of the Spectre, the Question and Radiant a little before the Spectre battles Cain.
Gotham City Sirens
After rescuing Catwoman from Boneblaster, a new villain trying to make a name for himself, Poison Ivy takes Catwoman back to Edward Nigma's townhouse. When there, Catwoman sees that Ivy has been keeping the Riddler under mind control so that she and Harley could use his townhouse as a hideout. Here, Catwoman decides that with Gotham City more dangerous than ever with all the gang wars and a new Batman, a partnership with the other two women would be advantageous. However, Ivy fears that Catwoman has lost her edge and prowess, and consults with Zatanna on the nature of Catwoman's injuries. Zatanna responds that Catwoman has psychological wounds that would need healing. Ivy resolves that she and Harley would provide Catwoman with "positive female reinforcement". The three then agree to become a team.
Eventually, Ivy and the other Sirens ambush the Riddler at his office (with Ivy using her plants to truss and gag his secretary), telling him that they've been framed for the murder of a young nurse. He agrees to help clear their names, and during the discussion Ivy reveals that she has recently taken up a job at the Gotham division of S.T.A.R. Labs under an assumed name (Dr. Paula Irving).
The DC Universe heavily changed its continuity into the DCnU following the events of Flashpoint in 2011. This was part of an effort to make storylines more accessible to newer readers, beginning with the New 52. This new timeline combines elements from the DCU, Vertigo Universe and Wildstorm Universe while drastically changing the origins and histories of characters.
Chlorokinesis: Semi-mystical connection to the plant world through a force called the Green. In some adaptations she can control plants with her mind. For example, in Arkham Asylum: Living Hell she was able to manipulate and animate plants, using roots to form supports for a tunnel she and another inmate named Magpie were digging to escape, and also spawning glowing fungi to entertain Magpie. She controls an entire tree to come down on Clayface, ensnaring him in its branches. More recently, in Batman & Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows, she can be seen bringing down a whole skyscraper with giant vines. She is also shown as being capable of creating medium sized explosions as shown when she killed Lucia Vitti.
Toxic Immunity: Immunity to all toxins, bacteria, and viruses
Toxikinesis: a deliberate overdose of plant and animal based toxins into her blood stream that make her touch deadly. Ivy can create the most potently powerful floral toxins in Gotham City. Often these are secreted from her lips and administered via a kiss. They come in a number of varieties, from mind controlling drugs to instantly fatal necrotics. Her skin is toxic as well, although contact with it is usually not fatal.
- Pheromone Control: Ivy is known to be able to seduce men and women alike, often using pheromones to do so but even without the pheremones her beauty is still an asset that can seduce.
Botanist: Expertise in botany. She specializes in creating new plant species and plant/animal hybrids
Toxicologist: expert in toxicology.
Proficient Combatant: Poison Ivy's athletic abilities have grown over the course of her career. She has learned a limited style of martial arts fighting, is proficient at climbing and leaping, and is a strong and fast swimmer.
- Average Strength: Poison Ivy possesses the strength level of around three women her age, size and weight who engage in intensive regular exercise.
Vulnerability to Darkness: Poison Ivy requires substantial amounts of solar energy to live.
- Plants, toxic lipstick
- Plant abilities
- In her earlier appearances she used a Crossbow and Blowgun with poison darts.
Being a character that utilizes aesthetics to her best advantage, Poison Ivy has no shortage of different looks, ranging from variations of how she looked in her first appearance with tights and flesh tone to a naked goddess-like persona.
Her skin tone varies frequently. It has been mentioned that her blood contains chlorophyll which, being a pigment, would theoretically cause her to have green skin. However, most portrayals of her, particularly earlier ones, depicted her with either tan, snow-white alabaster, or off-white skin.
In recent years, DC Comics has depicted Ivy with green skin in some comics, although these are an exception to the norm. An explanation for this storyline was offered in Catwoman (Volume 2) #57, where a chemical formula of Ivy's falls onto her skin and causes the pigmentation change.
Ivy is a manipulative, red-haired seductress. At her first appearance, her costume is a one-piece, strapless green bathing suit, covered with leaves. Leaves also form her bracelets, necklace and crown. She wears green high heels and yellow-green nylon stockings with leaves painted on them. These particulars changed somewhat when she re-appeared. She keeps variations of this look from the 60s to the early 90s. It was not until No Man's Land that the character undergoes a significant physical change, ridding herself of the nylon stockings and high heels. During this time, she is depicted as freely walking around naked.
Artists such as Jim Lee draw her in a green form-fitting one-piece bathing suit. Other times she is seen in minimal attire composed of leaves that always follows a bathing suit pattern. She is no longer drawn as having tights or high heels, and is often depicted barefoot. When she is not, she is wearing "elf-shoes".
- Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy has been portrayed as a love interest for Batman in some comics. In one comic, Ivy was robbing a charity gala Bruce Wayne was attending. Ivy's first kiss was poison, the second its antidote. When they first meet, Ivy's toxic lips planted a seed of toxic rapture in Bruce. But when she later kissed a dying Dark Knight, Ivy unknowingly cured her intended victim and established a budding romantic tension between them.
- Creator Robert Kanigher modeled Poison Ivy after Bettie Page, giving her the same haircut and Southern drawl as Page. In her first appearances in 1966, no origin was developed; she was merely a temptress. At her first appearance, her costume was a one-piece, strapless green bathing suit, covered with leaves. Leaves also formed her bracelets, necklace and crown. She also wore green high heels and yellow-green nylon stockings with leaves painted on them. These particulars changed somewhat when she re-appeared.
- Poison Ivy was promoted after the rise of feminism brought the need for a greater number of more independent female villains in the series. She was also used to replace the increasingly sympathetic Catwoman as a clearly antagonistic female supervillain foil for Batman, and then made further appearances in the Batman comic book series and in Suicide Squad. An origin story was later concocted for her.
- 323 Appearances of Pamela Isley (New Earth)
- 150 Images featuring Pamela Isley (New Earth)
- 24 Quotations by or about Pamela Isley (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Pamela Isley (New Earth)
- Bibliography of Poison Ivy
- DC Comics' Bio
- Poison Ivy Fansite