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Poison Ivy #10
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Poison Ivy’ #10 is a disturbing exploration of toxic wellness culture

G. Willow Wilson continues Pamela’s journey of growth and discovery while skewering toxic and misguided wellness culture.

G. Willow Wilson’s Poison Ivy continues to provide sharp, witty, and timely social commentary on various aspects of society that contribute to unhealthy behaviors and beliefs held by much of humanity. Specifically, Poison Ivy #10 narrows Pamela’s focus to commenting on the current state of toxic “wellness brands,” eviscerating these brands’ stated missions as well as the “half conscious, misguided disciples” of self-styled “lifestyle gurus.” Wilson’s impressive writing continues to resonate on an emotional and personal level, while the art by Marcio Takara, color from Arif Prianto, and evocative lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou help elevate what could be a “Monster of the Week” issue into a gorgeous piece of art.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Poison Ivy #10!

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Poison Ivy #9 was a much-needed break from the terror Ivy has been causing, fighting back against, and running from. It was also a huge win for Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy shippers, since the issue saw the much-anticipated reunion of the anti-heroic lovebirds after months apart. The reunion between Quinn and Ivy was beautiful, cementing why the two make such a lovely and shockingly healthy couple, and it also inspired Poison Ivy to set off on a cross-country journey back to Gotham, taking her new friend Janet with her and planning on continuing her fight against climate crisis enablers along the way. This second arc of Poison Ivy, announced to much fan celebration, has seen Ivy realign her mission from destroying all of humanity to instead taking down the individuals causing the most harm, and Poison Ivy #10 sees the climate hero closely watching the lifestyle guru Gwendolyn Caltrope.

Poison Ivy #10

DC Comics

Caltrope’s wellness brand, which is hosting a wellness retreat, is called GLØP (a pretty clear riff on Gwyneth Paltrow and her GOOP brand) and is a biting commentary of real life wellness and lifestyle brands that style themselves as being “climate conscious,” while selling $100 candles and expensive algae powders falsely marketed as “sustainable.” Ivy is very against going to the retreat in Poison Ivy #10 but is convinced by Janet, and in a surprising turn of events for Ivy, it seems at first that Caltrope’s GLØP is misguided at best and incidentally harmful at worst.

While listening to Caltrope give a very generic speech espousing ideals of conscious capitalism (an unattainable philosophy in our current world, where “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism”), Ivy thinks she spots Jason Woodrue, the villainous Floronic Man who “created” Poison Ivy and haunted her for years until she finally killed (…and consumed) him in Poison Ivy #6. While it turns out this was either Ivy’s paranoia, or a hallucination caused by her internal lamia spores, it is refreshing that G. Willow Wilson continues to expand on the trauma Ivy has experienced by Woodrue, and how his death did not resolve or cure her ongoing trauma.

DC Preview: Poison Ivy #10

DC Comics

As Ivy, and then the rest of the women at the wellness retreat, drink an adaptogenic “green juice” it becomes clear that the drink has been spiked with a hallucinogenic mushroom, with leads to a rather disturbing orgy between the participants, including a sexual encounter between Ivy and Janet, where Janet admits to having romantic feelings towards her. Caltrope clearly spiked the drinks on purpose, a truly sick psychosexual experiment done on her “followers” to give them a “cosmic experience of human connection,” in reality just a non-consensual drugging that leads to regret and pain. The encounter between Janet and Ivy is odd, to say the least, and their friendship continues to be confusing, but will hopefully have dividends as the two recover from this incident and continue on their journey.

The already messed up intimate encounter between the retreat participants gets even more disturbing, as mushroom-sprouting body horror begins to transform the women, with Ivy quickly realizing that her lamia spores have taken on a life of their own, now growing naturally in the world even though they were made in a lab. It is a powerful choice by Wilson to make Ivy the incidental “villain” this week, because while Caltrope is obviously a disgusting grifter, it is Ivy’s own spores that are causing these misguided but ultimately innocent women to undergo horrific mushroom growth. Ivy is growing and developing, recovering from parts of her past, and yet she still must deal with the impact her decisions are having on the world, and the people around her, continuing to show the more thoughtful, conscientious, and heroic side of the media branded “environmental terrorist.”

Poison Ivy #10

DC Comics

Wilson’s writing throughout Poison Ivy #10 continues to prove that the acclaimed writer has successfully, perhaps more than any writer before her, found a way of capturing Pamela’s internal thinking in a way that feels so true to her character’s past, present, and desired future. Ivy’s wittiness, vulnerability, and perspective on humanity’s shortcomings are on full display this issue, bolstered by the downright breathtaking art from Takara and vibrant coloring from Prianto. While this issue does a feel a bit like a “Monster of the Week” episode, and lacks some of the emotional excitement and refreshing glee from Harley and Ivy’s reunion in the last issue, it is still a strong addition to this arc, skewering the at-times toxic “wellness” culture popular throughout the world these days (only attainable to the privileged and wealthy most of the time), and continuing Ivy’s trajectory of personal growth.

Poison Ivy #10 is as much a condemnation of falsely “sustainable” lifestyle brands as it is a reflection on the importance of accountability and restorative justice in the face of harm caused, as this issue sets Ivy up to need to come face-to-face with the impact her lamia spores are having on the natural world and humanity. This sharp, witty, and beautiful issue is an insightful next step for Ivy’s growth and an important read for fans of the antihero, as it will surely shape her continued growth and the perspective she holds on her role in the Green upon her eventual return to Gotham and into the arms of Harley Quinn.

Poison Ivy #10
‘Poison Ivy’ #10 is a disturbing exploration of toxic wellness culture
Poison Ivy #10
Poison Ivy #10 is an absolutely gorgeous "side quest" for Pamela and her friend Janet, exploring the misguided nature and incidental harm of toxic wellness culture, the lie of "conscious capitalism," and Poison Ivy's continued impact on the world around her.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.7
The wellness brand GLØP is a hilarious callout of... ahem... similarly named toxic "self-care" brands
Marcio Takara and Arif Prianto continue to illustrate absolutely gorgeous interiors
G. Willow Wilson's writing of Ivy's internal dialogue is intimate and powerful
After Ivy and Harley's emotional reunion last issue, this issue's vulnerability feels blunted
This issue feels like a "Monster of the Week" episode at times, although this changes by the end
8.5
Great
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