Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hush Chapter Four: The City (DC)
Batman #611 When: March 2003
Why: Jeph Loeb How: Jim Lee

The Story So Far...
When a child heir is kidnapped by Killer Croc; the seeds of a plot to undo Gotham City's dark knight protector become evident. Batman's greatest villains are manipulated by an unknown assailant, whose war of strategy against the hero begins with a break in modus for a Killer Croc mutated beyond his usual condition.

When Catwoman attempts to steal the ransom from Croc's kidnapping; the plot thickens as Batman takes pursuit across the city skyline, only to be cut down by one of his own weapons!
The resulting injuries from his fall bring Bruce Wayne's past into the present, but even as he becomes reacquainted with old friends; the Batman is thrust into a mystery that takes him to Metropolis and into the path of contemporary allies.

Beneath the lights of the city of the future; Batman and Catwoman begin a search for the puppeteer pulling their strings - Poison Ivy - but even as they do, they play into the hands of the true manipulator, and enter into an arena they could not possibly anticipate...

Tale of the Tape...
ARTWORK: Tim SaleARTWORK: Darwyn CookeStrength: Catwoman 2 (Average)
Intelligence: Poison Ivy 5 (Professor)
Speed: Catwoman 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Catwoman 4 (Athlete)
Agility: Catwoman 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Catwoman 4 (Trained)
Energy Power: Poison Ivy 2 (Projectile)

- In her formative years, Pamela Isley was a budding student of botannical biochemstry at a Seattle university. Her introversion made manipulation easy for Dr. Jason Woodrue, a teacher who convinced the shrinking violet to partake in potentially lethal experiments involving botanic toxins.

The betrayal shakes the fragile woman into action, who narrowly escapes death, only to experience a series of personal tragedies. She invests her emotions in environmental issues, discovering an inate ability to converse with, and control, all forms of vegetation.
Using her intimate knowledge of botanic toxins and an unwitting connection with a mystic elemental force known as the Green; Isley settles in Gotham where she becomes the eco-terrorist, Poison Ivy.

To compensate for her limitated combative vocabulary, Ivy relies on the manipulations of more powerful adversaries, and the animation of complex and rare vegetation, to do her battles for her.

- Selina Kyle lives a life on the streets, coming to be known as a notorious thief. Her escapades garner much attention, and eventually force the burglar to lay low, where she continues her career in crime as a dominatrix extracting information from potential victims.

Kyle gains extensive training in the martial arts, and inspired by the mysterious vigilante called Batman, adopts her own leather mask and catsuit ensemble to become Catwoman. As Catwoman, she embarks on a career as an ambiguous entity in the Gotham City landscape. Though regularly acting as a professional burglar and occasional mercenary, Catwoman also comes to be known as a protector of Gotham's East End.

Catwoman is a highly skilled fighter at peak physical condition, with impressive physical strength, agility, and speed. Catwoman also utilizes weapons including a whip, cat o' nine tails variation, and claws contained within her gloves.

Though well known as antagonist of the Batman; Catwoman's moral ambiguities err on the side of good, often resulting in brief alliances (or romance) between the sometimes-enemies.

Math: Catwoman Ranking: Catwoman (#17)

What Went Down...
Having been freed of Poison Ivy's influence; Catwoman plans to track the villain to a safehouse in Metropolis. Batman and she form an alliance amidst romantic tensions, but the fiercely independent Catwoman proves difficult to tame. Only on her terms to the pair later reconvene to devise a plan.

Catwoman descends on the hideout alone, faking the lingering influence of Ivy's poisons. The villainness is not so easily deceived.

Poison Ivy swats the ill-prepared Catwoman with a backhand slap, but the surprise attack garners little advantage. With her ruse uncovered, Catwoman is given license to offer a little payback for manipulations suffered.

Payback takes the form of an unrelenting combination of punches and kicks from the well trained burglar! Ivy quickly finds herself on the ropes, and with a claw to her throat, attempts to bargain with her former-puppet, offering up a share of the ransom she had used Catwoman to steal. The thief remains uncompelled, but the tables are quickly turned...

A branch twists out from the millieu of plantlife adorning the hideout, wrapping itself around Catwoman's neck! Like an anaconda it yanks Ivy's attacker from her body, wrenching it's grip as it lifts Catwoman's flailing body upward.

A batarang flings from the gloom, slicing effortlessly through the animated vine!

Just as the Dark Knight makes his presence known, another hero stirs nearby.
It begins with a thoom and then a krrrkk as the foundations of Ivy's dockside building begin to crumble under the might of Kryptonian strength.
Superman tosses the building aside, wounding Catwoman in the process. With that, he takes Poison Ivy's side, while Batman surveys the carnage.

The Hammer...
I hate to say it, but the double victory goes to surprise entrant Superman, and the lady pulling the strings, Poison Ivy!

This isn't one of the promised July Dark Knight entries, but if we're going to be nearly two weeks behind schedule, I figure it's going to be more worthwhile if we cram in plenty of meat in the sandwich. Indeed, cram we have, as we make a belated acknowledgment of Catwoman's inclusion in Mortal Kombat versus DC Universe.

I have to admit to a bit of a double motive, because, one of these things [pictured right] is not like the other...

We've touched upon it briefly in other entries, but we might as well just take the gloves off and get down to business: Poison Ivy has no business appearing in a beat 'em up video game!

It might surprise the initiated to learn that there's been a surprisingly vocal response to the idea of Poison Ivy appearing in the game. One assumes the shouting minority probably doesn't include many of our regular readers from the DC Nation, because, as we'd all know, Poison Ivy isn't really a fist-fighter.

That's not to say Poison Ivy doesn't have a place in video games, which are, for the most part, centred around the mechanics of a combative exchange. There's a lot of validity to the concept of a plant-manipulating Ivy in a video game, but as we saw in this particular entry, Ivy's MO is to surround herself with quantities of vegetation, or minions bewitched by her toxins. Gamers might instinctively equate these qualities to an adventure/platformer, which seems fair.

I have to admit; I'm the first person to acknowledge a disappointing history in the gameplay of previous Mortal Kombats. 2002's Deadly Alliance led with Tekken-inspired fighting styles applied liberally, but with a fluidity that made it everything it's predecessors (and successors) failed to be.

The jury remains out on whether or not MKvsDC, and it's many incrementalized mini-modes, will be able to salvage the brief reputation garnered by MK:DA. I do, however, feel that recent history of slapping the names of fight styles on-screen emphasises the lingering connection between Mortal Kombat and the martial arts. Early games might have suffered from a serious disconnect due to the homogenous palette of kicks and punches shared across the roster, but the implication was there to be fulfilled.

Poison Ivy not only lacks the requisite fighting abilities that even unrefined brawlers, like Flash and Captain Marvel, bring to the table, but is more specifically characterized by her removal from physical altercation. Few examples come to mind where Ivy has physically opposed her arch-rival, Batman, beyond the delay of a vine-tangled struggle -- which, as we saw in this entry, is usually remedied quite quickly.

I don't expect the descent of reason to interrupt the claims of uninitiated fans clamoring for Poison Ivy in a fighter - but hopefully we can at least contribute context to those interested in researching the names being bandied about.
Suffice to say, I do not expect Poison Ivy to beat out the many characters sure to be cut from the list. If you'd like to know more of those, you should track through our long series of related entries, which can currently be found starting here!

The Fight: 4 The Issue: 5.5

Fresh off The Dark Knight and keen to do some reading? Want to know everything that happens in the big battle of Batman #612? The good news for you is that 2003's Hush is collected in two convenient, affordably priced paperbacks. Better yet, if you use purchase links provided on the Inifinite Wars, you help sponsor future Bat-entries! And hey, looking for more classic Batman stories? Why not browse through the Secret Archives to see what takes your fancy, or scroll over to the Amazonian Gift Shoppe where there are many recommended and reviewed reads on offer! It's all part of the plan!

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