I will start with Fruit of the Earth because that’s the one I read first:
It was a fun, nostalgic trip revisiting No Man’s Land for a bit (also got to do it with this week’s BoP reading… huh…). Major takeaways from this story revolved around the whole Ivy vs. Clayface angle. Surface level, I have said before and do believe that Ivy is the most powerful bat-villain.I would say Clayface would likely be second on that list, so it’s a good match-up.
On a more abstract level. There has been mention of Ivy’s feelings toward exploitation. It’s certainly not a stretch to say that disgust over exploitation of the planet and it’s natural resources are a major motivating factor for Ivy. Clayface’s actions in this story are pure exploitation both of the orphans he exploits for labor and the Earth that he overtaxes to grow cash-crops that are not natural for that area/climate. He kind of reminds me of a certain institution that shall remain nameless coughglobalcapitalismcough. I can easily say that Ivy would’ve felt Clayface earned what happened to him in the end.
Detective Comics #23.1:
Ah the villain months that seem to pop up every few years now with DC Comics… I remember these issues being much-needed as New 52 continuity was still building and a lot of villain origins had not yet been addressed. I found this to be an interesting take on Ivy’s origin.
My focus here is really on the history surrounding her mother and father. On one hand, I can see how it lead to Ivy’s deep-rooted (heh, heh) anger regarding exploitation and abuse of the weak, and her feelings about the earth as she would associate her mother with the garden. That being said… I’m maybe a little less clear on how that event when she was young lead to her almost-sociopathic disinterest in humanity along with the disregard for free will. I could make guesses/inferences, but it wasn’t the most straight-forward character development. I felt like there were chapters of the story missing that would have filled-in those blanks.
Gotham Central #32:
I also thought of The Wire while reading this one, @msgtv (The Wire- now available on HBOMax!). I don’t know if I have much to add here. I loved the story and it was another great example of how Ivy feels about exploitation and abuse of the weak, as pointed out by @Razzzcat. This is definitely a theme running through most of these stories. I was interested by the character of Jim Corrigan and wondered if and how he had any relation to The Spectre- Jim Corrigan. DC Wiki says no, but… funny coincidence. Maybe a red herring character since Crispus Allen ended up becoming the Spectre.
Leaves of Grass:
Oh boy… I don’t know where to start or what I’m even allowed to say a la Community Guidelines… I was VERY distracted by the themes on marijuana in this story. First, a drug-war over marijuana??? I’m not sure how realistic it was even in the 90’s for gangs to go to war over just weed. It was also really bizarre as the story seemed to be delivering an anti-drug message while also outlining the benefits of marijuana/hemp. Though, that friction was maybe the best material out of this story. Overall, it reminded me of a slightly better informed reefer madness story from the Golden Age/50’s. I feel like it wouldn’t see print in the same form today as the discussion over weed has changed quite a bit.
Oh, yeah, I’m supposed to be talking about Ivy… In this story, Ivy was great. She’s always great.
I had to go back and check to remind myself if this story fleshed out Ivy’s origin more than Dectective #23.1 did. …It didn’t. I still feel like there are some missing pieces there, but that’s another reason why Ivy should get her own ongoing. Otherwise great art and loved how she took on a corporation that TOTALLY doesn’t represent an actual, real-life corporation that pulls that kind of garbage on the regular… nope… complete fiction…
Edit: Having thought about it a bit more Ivy’s disregard for free will in her pitch to Brucie from Detective #23.1 is kind of at odds with her feelings regarding exploitation of the weak. That’s definitely something that needs to be explored a bit more.