Harley Quinn and her best friend Poison Ivy have been one of the best duos in the DC canon since Batman: The Animated Series. Harley is emotional, irreverent, and illogical. Ivy is logical, reserved, and runs by a strong moral code which puts the Green above all else. Their dynamic is a fan favorite and in Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 it’s on full display.
Written by Jody Houser, with pencils from Adriana Melo, inks by Mark Morales, colors by Hi-Fi, and letters by Gabriela Downie, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 is a new six-issue mini-series that both explores their relationship and unpacks their emotions and experiences from the time at Sanctuary, specifically Ivy’s death in Heroes in Crisis. Taking place in the middle of DC Comics’ “Year of the Villain,” Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 is a gem.
This issue, Harley gets readers up to speed on her and Ivy’s relationship and Ivy’s death. Houser’s use of narration makes this mini-series accessible to readers who didn’t read Heroes in Crisis or who are new to the pair in general. Told from Harley’s perspective, we watch the two shop and struggle for Ivy’s to get back to her old self when we learn that the new body was brought back in is unstable.
Every part of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 works well. Houser’s writing showcases Harley and Ivy’s relationship perfectly. The dialogue written for each woman is unique to them and works to deliver the difference between the two effortlessly. Plus, as mentioned before, Harley’s narration in the opening of the comic works as well thought out exposition that delivers us not only the setting and purpose of the story but also puts us into Harley’s thoughts which makes the issue more personal.
In addition to stellar writing, the art in Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 is distinct. Melo’s pencils capture the beauty of the women without oversexualizing them, a common thread in the way both of the characters have been depicted. Beyond that, Melo also offers a beautifully ugly pile of Ivy in one of the opening pages that shows her depth as an artist. She doesn’t just know how to illustrate fun and beauty but also the grotesque and vibrant areas of the Green.
There is also something to be said for Morales’ inking which cuts the bright color palette with this black linework that distinguished each panel from the next and makes each panel pop. Finally, this near perfect art — I’m not a fan of Ivy’s costume in the back third of the book — is rounded out by Hi-Fi’s colors which are perfect for the characters’ relationship and story.
Overall, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1 is a great read and start to the mini-series. Whether you love Harley and Ivy already, or newcomers to the duo, this is an issue for you.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.