By: Tony Bedard (writer), Andres Guinaldo (pencils), Lorenzo Ruggiero (inks), JD Smith (colors) & Steve Wands (letters)

The Story: Will Catwoman & Harley be able to save Gotham from Poison Ivy and her new alien-plantman boyfriend?

What’s good: These are exactly the types of stories I like to see from a title like GCS.  Neat, short, fun and not requiring the reading of any other series to enjoy, but still furthering some longer term plot points for the overall GCS story.

As I think I mentioned in last issue’s review, the basic set up here is fun with Ivy getting roped into her boyfriend’s scheme to turn Earth into a vine-entangled jungle so that his queen can take over.  It’s a new twist and preferable to some of the other story arcs that GCS has featured were pretty much retread material.  So, I have to give Bedard kudos for thinking outside for box.

It is also pretty clear that Bedard “gets” these three characters: Catwoman is the closest to heroic and that shows here as she is leading the charge to stop Ivy.  Harley has a good heart inside, but is mostly a follower and falls in to help Catwoman.  Of the three, Ivy is the most villainous and you get the sense that she can fall into this sort of scheme pretty much any old day of the week.  And, this “getting” the characters comes through with a few nice bits of dialog including a moment when Catwoman tells Harley (who is dubious about using the flamethrowers on the jungle) that the flamethrowers are bound to work better on vines than Harley’s big old hammer.

What’s Not So Good: Comics like this are always hard to grade because even when you like them, it is hard for a minor series like GCS to ever earn one of our lusted after WCBR “epic” grades.  So, GCS will always have a bit of a ceiling on its score because it will never be epic.  That doesn’t mean it is a bad comic, but this is a 3rd tier title for DC.

Why are Harley and Catwoman taking Ivy back after the events of this issue?  One moment she is promising to leave fresh flowers on Harley’s grave and the next they are taking her back to their lair?  That just seems dubious to me.  People kick out roommates who use too much of their ketchup.

I’m repeating one of my comments from last month by saying this, but I don’t see how you can have a major mayhem event like this in Gotham and not have some involvement by other heroes.  There is literally a park turning into an alien jungle with civilian deaths and no one shows up.  I’m not saying that we need Batman to save the day, but you could get this effect pretty easily by showing a single panel of Oracle trying to call him for help and Dick-Bat’s saying “I’m busy, Selina and Harley will have to do it alone.”  Or send Huntress or Question to help?  And, some people might be bothered by this alien invasion plot concept.  Are these aliens giving up now?  Will they be back?  I could have used a little more wrap-up on that plot item.

The art was a real mixed bag for me in this issue.  Some of it is really good, but there were a lot of empty backgrounds for a fight that happened in the jungle.  I know that drawing all that stuff is a pain, but I thought that is what we had computers for now because I’d rather see some slightly pre-rendered jungle background or mottled green stuff than a flat gray background.

Conclusion: Fun, but it still has a few flaws.

Grade: C-

– Dean Stell