By: Duane Swierczynski (story), Travel Foreman & Timothy Green II (pencils), Jeff Huet & Joseph Silver (inks), Gabe Eltaeb (colors)

The Story: Poison Ivy’s killer course on how to save the planet.

The Review: Look, none of us are naïve here.  We all know that there are some people in this world who can stand a little killing.  And I’m not talking about the ones who are clearly disturbed, like serial killers or child rapists.  I’m referring to the jags who see you waiting-signaling for a parking space and zip into it anyway, the corporate honchos who do everything short of snatching cash from your hands, the guy who leaves his pee all over the toilet, etc.

But horrible as these folks are, you don’t actually believe they deserve death (at least, I hope not because otherwise I suggest you seek counseling).  It just goes to show that our valuation of human life outweigh a whole slew of awful human behavior.  At the same time, most of us acknowledge somewhat hypocritically that there are things far more important than us.  It’s only when we have to practice that idea that we begin reconsidering our priorities.

Here’s an example that pops up in this issue: does the integrity of the environment matter less than the person who purposely destroys it?  Most of us would say no, at least in theory.  But then, most of us wouldn’t go to the extreme of saying that such a person has to die for his actions.  Therein lies the barrier between Poison Ivy and the rest of the Birds.  Like most of us, they may believe some people haven’t earned a right to live, but they won’t exact death.

Not to get too political, but my belief is the people who think they can say who gets to live or die must think pretty highly of themselves—at least, when it’s not personal.  After Ivy’s betrayal, Canary vows to “destroy” her once the opportunity presents itself, but this feels more like the venom naturally induced when someone takes advantage of your goodwill and screws you.  Ivy doesn’t seem capable of that particularly human kind of sentiment, but then, she’s not altogether human anymore, as she pretty much implies.

For Ivy, she sees her cause as righteous, so she has no problem bumping off anyone who gets in her way.  In fact, I don’t think it’s out of the question to say she genuinely views herself as a hero (“There is nothing more important than saving the planet.”), and in a sense, she’s totally right.  Swierczynski has connected Ivy closer to the Green than in her previous incarnations, and in that respect, her intolerance for human waste makes her simply a loyal agent.

I noted in Animal Man Annual #1 that Green’s thin lines and slightly exaggerated features channeled Foreman, but seeing them both together on this title, the differences are pretty significant.  Green’s women have peaked faces and popping eyes that make them appear a bit cartoonish, and thus too light for the tone this series is going for.  Foreman’s women look rough and worn, which works in context of their exertions in the jungle.  There are times when his figures appear downright misshapen, however, like the chairman of the board’s unnaturally elongated head.  Those kinds of artistic choices, you might well imagine, get distracting fast.

Conclusion: Never at a loss for action, but meandering where the story is concerned.  We haven’t had a fully played-out plot in a long time, and it can’t really wait that much longer.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I bet that guy who spoke up against the fraking sure feels good now, after he’s seen what happened to his boss and coworker, who didn’t.  Virtue does have its rewards from time to time.