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Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy #1
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy’ #1 review: Terror Homes & Gardens

This is one ‘Knight Terrors’ book that I can definitely see having a real impact on Ivy’s ongoing adventures.

Living “happily ever after” with the one you love is the goal of just about every person on the planet, but not everyone has the same idea of what that looks like. It doesn’t make any one person’s dream less valid, but what might feel like a dream come true to some could feel like a stifling nightmare to others — and that’s where this story comes in. Poison Ivy, despite being a loving partner to Harley Quinn, isn’t exactly the domestic type, but the nightmare world she’s been thrown into quickly turns her into the role of something of a Stepford Wife.

I can already tell this is going to be a unique story among the Knight Terrors line of tie-in issues, both in tone and intention. Many of these stories are intent on exploring the greatest fears of their lead characters, but few of them have shown us how much our title character fears something that would typically be seen as the American Dream.

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From the very beginning, we can tell that something is off. Everything’s too bright and colorful, to a sickly degree. Poison Ivy’s girlfriend and neighbors are always smiling, and while that’s not too out of the ordinary for Harley, it’s immediately obvious that these are pained smiles. Everyone has been forced into a sense of conformity in this homogenous farce of suburban bliss. It’s not at all who Ivy is, and it’s unsettling to see her falling under the spell of this place, her features starting to become just as vacant and chilling as those belonging to the domesticated automatons surrounding her.

Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy #1
DC Comics

In the early going, Atagun Ilhan, Mark Morales, and Arif Prianto sell the sense that everything is just a little bit wrong, peppering in a few distorted body shapes and unearthly color choices (as well as an eerie little cameo from the main villain of this event), then go full funhouse horror in the final pages. Throughout, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou finds interesting moments to exaggerate a particular word or phrase, lending a sinister air to even the most innocuous or comforting bits of dialogue.

Which brings us to Janet (from HR). As it turns out, her nightmare is also being subsumed by Harley and Ivy’s domestic bliss, only to find herself still the outsider, a permanent third wheel. I fully did not expect to see this issue devote a fair bit of time to Janet’s anxieties, but it’s a welcome addition. Here, Janet gets forcefully pushed into background character territory (at least from Ivy’s point of view), which in fact brings her to the forefront of the story. It also forces her to confront something that’s been eating away at her. Harley is everything to Ivy, and so Ivy comes to like this vision of normalcy. It’s a fascinating twist that pivots the narrative to a question I didn’t expect from this issue: Who or what does Janet have, really? And how hard will she be willing to fight for it?

Much of this issue feels like table setting for a larger confrontation, but the character development and eerie elements to the artwork make this another win for this era of Poison Ivy. G. Willow Wilson and co. continue to demonstrate a careful and loving understanding of what makes Pamela Isley tick — even when it’s a piece of Ivy’s mind that she’s not totally aware of.

Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy #1
‘Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy’ #1 review: Terror Homes & Gardens
Knight Terrors: Poison Ivy #1
This 'Knight Terrors' tie-in already stands out from the pack as it continues the main 'Poison Ivy' series' keen exploration of Ivy's state of mind. This is one 'Knight Terrors' book that I can definitely see having a real impact on Ivy's ongoing adventures.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.5
Builds in an interesting way, showing us how Ivy feels about this vision of her life before it consumes her
Gives Janet an unexpected spotlight within the nightmare, offering some valuable character study along the way
Uses the concept of 'normalcy' in eerie ways, both to create unease and to explore different character dynamics
Feels like a hefty bit of set-up in some spots, especially for a two-parter
8
Good
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