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Poison Ivy: Thorns

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New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF Kody Keplinger and artist Sara Kipin reimagine an iconic DC antihero with a gothic-horror twist. There's something unusual about Pamela Isley—the girl who hides behind her bright red hair. The girl who won't let anyone inside to see what's lurking behind the curtains. The girl who goes to extreme lengths to care for a few plants New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF Kody Keplinger and artist Sara Kipin reimagine an iconic DC antihero with a gothic-horror twist. There's something unusual about Pamela Isley—the girl who hides behind her bright red hair. The girl who won't let anyone inside to see what's lurking behind the curtains. The girl who goes to extreme lengths to care for a few plants. Pamela Isley doesn't trust other people, especially men. They always want something from her. Something she's not willing to give. When cute goth girl Alice Oh comes into Pamela's life after an accident at the local park, she makes her feel like pulling back the curtains and letting the sunshine in. But there are dark secrets deep within the Isley house. Secrets Pamela's father has warned must remain hidden. Secrets that could turn deadly and destroy the one person who ever cared about Pamela, or as her mom preferred to call her ... Ivy. Will Pamela open herself up to the possibilities of love, or will she forever be transformed by the thorny vines of revenge?


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New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF Kody Keplinger and artist Sara Kipin reimagine an iconic DC antihero with a gothic-horror twist. There's something unusual about Pamela Isley—the girl who hides behind her bright red hair. The girl who won't let anyone inside to see what's lurking behind the curtains. The girl who goes to extreme lengths to care for a few plants New York Times bestselling author of The DUFF Kody Keplinger and artist Sara Kipin reimagine an iconic DC antihero with a gothic-horror twist. There's something unusual about Pamela Isley—the girl who hides behind her bright red hair. The girl who won't let anyone inside to see what's lurking behind the curtains. The girl who goes to extreme lengths to care for a few plants. Pamela Isley doesn't trust other people, especially men. They always want something from her. Something she's not willing to give. When cute goth girl Alice Oh comes into Pamela's life after an accident at the local park, she makes her feel like pulling back the curtains and letting the sunshine in. But there are dark secrets deep within the Isley house. Secrets Pamela's father has warned must remain hidden. Secrets that could turn deadly and destroy the one person who ever cared about Pamela, or as her mom preferred to call her ... Ivy. Will Pamela open herself up to the possibilities of love, or will she forever be transformed by the thorny vines of revenge?

30 review for Poison Ivy: Thorns

  1. 4 out of 5

    brianna

    ivy is simply a gay icon to me <3

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    A very YA Gothic romance. Deals with issues of abuse and sexual harassment. The characters are very one dimensional in this f/f romance. Everyone plays a stereotypical role with no nuance. It's something of an origin story for Poison Ivy although a lot of the elements are a bit glossed over as the pacing is very off. A very YA Gothic romance. Deals with issues of abuse and sexual harassment. The characters are very one dimensional in this f/f romance. Everyone plays a stereotypical role with no nuance. It's something of an origin story for Poison Ivy although a lot of the elements are a bit glossed over as the pacing is very off.

  3. 5 out of 5

    TJ

    The DC YA graphic novels have been pretty miss for me, but I think Poison Ivy: Thorns is the best one so far— although the competition wasn’t very tough, let’s be honest. The themes in this book were great, if a bit too blunt. I appreciated the casual f/f romance and Ivy learning to take control of her life and reject men feeling entitled to her body. Go into this expecting the usual YA tropes and suspend your disbelief just enough— and you might enjoy it enough to have a good time. In broad str The DC YA graphic novels have been pretty miss for me, but I think Poison Ivy: Thorns is the best one so far— although the competition wasn’t very tough, let’s be honest. The themes in this book were great, if a bit too blunt. I appreciated the casual f/f romance and Ivy learning to take control of her life and reject men feeling entitled to her body. Go into this expecting the usual YA tropes and suspend your disbelief just enough— and you might enjoy it enough to have a good time. In broad strokes, I really like this as Ivy’s origin story. 3.5/5 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    A gothic horror take on Poison Ivy's teenage origins goes down smooth and easy. I wish it had backed up just a little bit, because Pamela Isley seems pretty far along the road to becoming a super villain right at the start. But it is still one of the better books published under the DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults imprint. A gothic horror take on Poison Ivy's teenage origins goes down smooth and easy. I wish it had backed up just a little bit, because Pamela Isley seems pretty far along the road to becoming a super villain right at the start. But it is still one of the better books published under the DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults imprint.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eva B.

    Poison Ivy has always been one of the most interesting DC characters to me, and that, combined with my love of the Gothic aesthetic, prompted me to pick this up and it did not disappoint!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    An origin story for supervillain "Poison Ivy", centred around themes of bodily autonomy and romance. Pamela Isley is being harassed by a rich boy at school and experimented on by her dad at home, and everything looks bleak. She has a friend, or potentially more than a friend, in Alice, but the men in her life look at her as something they can control and use for their own desires. It's a dark book, with some heavy themes, but the moments of companionship between Pamela and Alice bring a certain An origin story for supervillain "Poison Ivy", centred around themes of bodily autonomy and romance. Pamela Isley is being harassed by a rich boy at school and experimented on by her dad at home, and everything looks bleak. She has a friend, or potentially more than a friend, in Alice, but the men in her life look at her as something they can control and use for their own desires. It's a dark book, with some heavy themes, but the moments of companionship between Pamela and Alice bring a certain levity when it's needed most. Whether it's silly little jokes are wholesome buds of teen romance, they're cute together and a shining light in an otherwise tragic and concerning story. I like that this doesn't rely on other elements of the DC Universe to tell its story. No reference to any big superhero or other supervillains or anyone in-between. This is the origin of "Poison Ivy", and the focus is entirely on Pamela Isley. She has her flaws, she makes mistakes, but she finds a way through it and becomes a more confident person by the end. I'm not too familiar with the main continuity Pamela, but this origin feels like it could be canon. She's not the exact same character but Kody Keplinger and Sara Kipin do a great job of taking the complexity of her personality and bringing it all together. I especially love the way Kipin draws Pamela's hair and how it twists around her like how Poison Ivy controls plants. Sometimes it's carefully pushed to the side to frame her face, sometimes it hides her face like a shield, sometimes it's depicted mid-motion with a sharpness and energy that matches Pamela's increasingly irate and reckless actions. Jeremy Lawson's colours are a perfect compliment here as well, covering most of the series in earthy tones brown and green, leaving Pamela's bright red hair to stand out and draw the focus towards her constantly. Pamela's father is often menacingly cloaked in shadows, or that jerk boy Brett's blond hair blends in with the browns of the background. Alice's dark black hair and clothing can make her meld into the background too, but when she shares the page with Pamela the combination of black and red jump off the page and make everything more exciting. All in all a fantastic book and a great read for Poison Ivy fans.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

    In this graphic novel, we get to see the DC character in her earlier years and what made her begin her villainous journey. Is she truly villainous or is she misunderstood? I don't care. I enjoyed this story. There's feminism, revenge, Sapphic love and a loving nod to nature. While the illustrations could have pushed a little, I'm not mad at them. 3.5/5 In this graphic novel, we get to see the DC character in her earlier years and what made her begin her villainous journey. Is she truly villainous or is she misunderstood? I don't care. I enjoyed this story. There's feminism, revenge, Sapphic love and a loving nod to nature. While the illustrations could have pushed a little, I'm not mad at them. 3.5/5

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christien

    A really nice read, even for the non-superhero fans (like me).

  9. 5 out of 5

    bridge raymundo

    Welcome to Bridge's Pride Month 2021 Graphic Novel Review Catch-Up Extravaganza! In the month of June I embarked on a journey to read more graphic novels and comics-- an area of readership that once upon a time seemed to be the focus of every young nerdy man's gatekeeping. No more, I say! I'll be the first to say that comics intimidate the crap out of me. I've always loved superheroes but I never knew where to start and then I saw that this book had been released. DC's "Poison Ivy: Thorns" is a g Welcome to Bridge's Pride Month 2021 Graphic Novel Review Catch-Up Extravaganza! In the month of June I embarked on a journey to read more graphic novels and comics-- an area of readership that once upon a time seemed to be the focus of every young nerdy man's gatekeeping. No more, I say! I'll be the first to say that comics intimidate the crap out of me. I've always loved superheroes but I never knew where to start and then I saw that this book had been released. DC's "Poison Ivy: Thorns" is a graphic novel YA retelling of Poison Ivy's origin story. Told in beautiful full-color illustrations, we follow a few weeks in the young life of Pamela, a young emotion-driven environmentalist living in a toxic home environment. On the surface, Pamela's life is just like any other teenager's. She starts to grow closer to a sweet girl named Alice, and all Pamela wants to do is save her local park, tend to her greenhouse and help her mom. But once her carefully tended to branches begin to grow, everything in her life begins to spread wildly out of her control. I adored the storytelling of this graphic novel, it was super quick to read and did not require much prior knowledge of the comic characters. I read "The Duff" by Kody Keplinger wayyy back in high school and it's cool to see her writing within this medium. This was adapted really well into the YA genre, and while paying tribute to the iconic Poison Ivy, Pamela felt like a distinct and intriguing character. I loved that her passion for the environment was so central to her character's arc and although she is definitely a flawed character/almost villain, as a reader I couldn't help but empathize with her pain. This really just is what could happen if an angsty teenager is given supernatural powers. Additionally, Pamela and Alice's love story was surprisingly sweet, and I loved that their humanity was woven into what is otherwise a tragic narrative. The stuff with Pamela's dad was horrifying-- I'm assuming it was true to the original comics but damn I wasn't prepared for that (I'll leave some spoilery content warnings below). I will say that this story is very simplistic, so if you're used to intricate fantasy I think it's possible to find it lacking a ~je ne sais quoi~ I do hope there will be a continuation because the ending did feel a little lackluster and I'd like to know more about Alice. Lastly, the aesthetic and art style of this book alone is enough to read it over and over. Sara Kipin kept to an earthy color palette that flowed so nicely and really illustrated in places where words weren't enough. Overall I definitely would recommend this book to YA readers looking to get into comics, or those who just love semi-magical sapphic stories! CONTENT WARNINGS: (I note these while reading, some may be missing and some may be spoilers) - kidnapping - death - poisoning - eco-terrorism - toxic parenting - abusive father - misogyny - slut-shaming

  10. 5 out of 5

    Viola

    This is a fantastic story for Ivy and great graphic novel too. It's nice to see an origin story that fits the character so well and treats her with respect. It's also a realistic portrayal of what Ivy would be like today as a teenager. She cares about the environment, she's a vegetarian, she wears vintage, thrifted clothes. Ivy's love interest, Alice dresses goth which was also a nice touch, signalling she's also somewhat of an outsider, someone who doesn't seek to fit in. Their conversations fe This is a fantastic story for Ivy and great graphic novel too. It's nice to see an origin story that fits the character so well and treats her with respect. It's also a realistic portrayal of what Ivy would be like today as a teenager. She cares about the environment, she's a vegetarian, she wears vintage, thrifted clothes. Ivy's love interest, Alice dresses goth which was also a nice touch, signalling she's also somewhat of an outsider, someone who doesn't seek to fit in. Their conversations felt natural, which is often a complaint about dialogue in YA books, I don't think it was an issue at all here. The art is beautiful, the mostly green color scheme with the red/orange of Ivy's hair is appropriate and builds atmosphere. Just like the the Gothic aesthetic, not only did it look nice, but it supports the themes of the story. There's definitely Gothic influences: the young female protagonist living in a dark mansion, under the control of her father who is hiding a family secret. Similarly to many Gothic stories Poison Ivy: Thorns isn't just dark in the aesthetic but in content as well, (view spoiler)[including some bloody content like a true Gothic story (hide spoiler)] tackling serious issues such as abuse, harassment, and bodily autonomy of women and girls. Despite the length, it handles them well, and in an accessible way to the target audience. In addition, there are resources at the back of the book naming organizations who provide aid to people dealing mental health issues, domestic abuse and sexual harassment, which is really important. A Poison Ivy story is definitely appropriate for bringing up bodily autonomy as her backstory usually involve a man taking advantage of her or experimenting on her without her consent. Seeing her fight back against this was great. Ivy is also a character who is sexualized a lot by creators and fans alike, often overshadowing her humanity. I complain a lot about depictions that simplify her to "sexy plant lady." It doesn't happen anymore as much, but she's still portrayed as a one-dimensional villain too often. I don't necessarily want her to be redeemed completely, but I completely disagree with takes saying she's only interesting as a villain therefore she shouldn't be redeemed. If (a BIG if) writers are able to give her complex characterization while writing her as an antagonist in stories, then by all means, she doesn't have to be completely heroic. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen, in many cases she just ends up doing something bad and seducing people with her powers. She can stay as an antagonist and morally grey character, but without erasing that she is a climate activist and a queer woman. The latter not happening is another reason why this comic is wonderful, it features a f/f romance (if only the main continuity DC books did this more). Alice and Ivy make a nice couple, and aside from the romance, Alice is someone who supports Ivy and understands her without wanting to change her. This doesn't mean she agrees with all of her actions and doesn't call her out on them, but she gets where Ivy is coming from and doesn't demonize her. Their romance develops quickly, but it wasn't rushed. They are teenagers, and you get the sense Alice fancied Ivy for a while before the events of the book take place. Ivy is lonely and under a lot of pressure, so no wonder she bonded quickly with someone who accepts her and who's very nice to her. You also don't get the sense their relationship is going to be the big defining one for the rest of their lives, but it's a important one nevertheless. I like to think an older Ivy and Alice meeting later or and reconnecting, even if briefly. I'd love to see a continuation of this story too. It deserves it, I think this comic is the best one out of the YA DC comics so far.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This graphic novel will appeal to readers who like dark, atmospheric tales with horror and gothic elements, like Wilder Girls by Rory Power and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. Read more in my blog post for YALSA’s The Hub here: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2021/.... This graphic novel will appeal to readers who like dark, atmospheric tales with horror and gothic elements, like Wilder Girls by Rory Power and Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. Read more in my blog post for YALSA’s The Hub here: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2021/....

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Poison Ivy: Thorns is a graphic novel and is written by Kody Keplinger and illustrated by Sara Kipin. It is the retelling of the origin story of an enigmatic villainess. Outside of class, Pamela Isley spends her time at Huxley High School’s greenhouse, which was donated to the school by her mother and at home involved in secret biological experiments with her obsessive scientist father. While Pamela's ill mother remains absent for most of the book, her influence on Pamela is evident. The teen also Poison Ivy: Thorns is a graphic novel and is written by Kody Keplinger and illustrated by Sara Kipin. It is the retelling of the origin story of an enigmatic villainess. Outside of class, Pamela Isley spends her time at Huxley High School’s greenhouse, which was donated to the school by her mother and at home involved in secret biological experiments with her obsessive scientist father. While Pamela's ill mother remains absent for most of the book, her influence on Pamela is evident. The teen also cares deeply for a local park set to be deforested, resolves to stand up for herself against a boy's repeated harassment, and excels at the sciences. However, despite her father's warnings that drawing unwanted attention will jeopardize their experiments, Pamela releases a toxic gas to stall construction and opens up to peer Alice, who helps Pamela navigate her harassment and household pressures as the two teens fall in love. Poison Ivy: Thorns is written and constructed rather well. Keplinger's retelling of the origin story of Pamela Isley, who would one day be known as Poison Ivy, was conceived rather well and brought it to contemporary times. However, in some places the narrative feels hollow, reiterating plot points, relying on dialogue, and implying, rather than exploring, major character motivations. In thin lines and cinematic sequences, though, Kipin uses mundane moments, such as chemistry class, to showcase science-minded Pamela's joy. All in all, Poison Ivy: Thorns is atmospheric and haunting and a wonderful retelling of Poison Ivy's origin story.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    honestly think they could’ve done much more with this if it had been longer. i thought the pacing was a little strange, i wanted to be able to sit with the characters more. i realized after reading it that this is the origin story for poison ivy (which is super rad, i’ve never been much of a DC/marvel comics person) so maybe that’s why it was so short, but if anything it was a quick and cute read. i really like alice, and i thought the storyline was interesting, but the writing was really boring honestly think they could’ve done much more with this if it had been longer. i thought the pacing was a little strange, i wanted to be able to sit with the characters more. i realized after reading it that this is the origin story for poison ivy (which is super rad, i’ve never been much of a DC/marvel comics person) so maybe that’s why it was so short, but if anything it was a quick and cute read. i really like alice, and i thought the storyline was interesting, but the writing was really boring and i don’t think it did the storyline justice. i think the story could’ve been executed better with better writing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nı§hca

    Actual Rating 4.5 stars, I want a sequel of it so badly!! So what happened is few weeks ago I saw the official voice over trailer of this GN on YouTube and that grabbed my attention immediately, from then it was most anticipated read for me of this month, this week I finally picked it and wow! It has fulfilled my expectations very well and I am in love with this version of Ivy so so much! Poison Ivy : Thorns is DC's YA graphic novel that retells the origin of Ivy with dark themes and gothic appr Actual Rating 4.5 stars, I want a sequel of it so badly!! So what happened is few weeks ago I saw the official voice over trailer of this GN on YouTube and that grabbed my attention immediately, from then it was most anticipated read for me of this month, this week I finally picked it and wow! It has fulfilled my expectations very well and I am in love with this version of Ivy so so much! Poison Ivy : Thorns is DC's YA graphic novel that retells the origin of Ivy with dark themes and gothic approach. I really enjoyed this from beginning to the end, It was a very quick read. Without giving any spoilers this book deals with Pamela's inner conflicts, moral dilemmas and some dark topics like bodily assault, slut shaming, harassment etc. The book starts with showing her love and care for plants and environmental issues. Later it shows that her family has a dark secret and her dad tells her to keep it secret and not to trust anyone so she always kept to her self but then things changes when she meets a goth girl named Alice who brings her into sunshine and Pamela learns to stand for herself and she starts to open herself for her inner feelings. later Alice learns her family's biggest secret and then things change dramatically with lots of twists and turns. I loved her love story with Alice so much, it was not a side story but part of main story of this book. I connected with Pamela so much and there were lots of the moments where I really felt bad for her. All the issues and trouble Pamela faces in this story are very real and relatable which can be found in real life stories too. Also I love that this book is not usual superhero comic with lots of tie ins or references to other universe of DC. It's its own story arc purely focused on Ivy. I love the events and buildup to the point where she becomes well known villain but this book also shows her losing her morals and doubting her own self. Author has really put so much care and love into character of Pamela. We get to know every aspect of her life. The Artwork alone is enaugh reason to pick this book, every panel is so gorgeous with saturated colors and dark and gothic aesthetics with beautiful character design and world. Sara Kipin's Artwork was so cinematic and very anime alike which made me feel like I was watching an animated movie of Ivy. Lots of panels have some really eye catching color contrasts. There was one panel with Pamela and Alice where the contrast between black and red makes everything so gorgeous and unique. Also I love how panels create tension and how they represents people differently according to thier nature. It tells story very well with artwork, most of the panels are drawn in such a way that you don't even need to read the text to understand what's happening. All the dialogues are very well written too. I can't find any flaws in this book. Story, Artwork, dialogues, world, characters, themes, pacing they all are very nice. The only thing I hated about this book is that it ended too soon, like I didn't realize how fast it went, I was expecting more about afterwards of the final event so I really got disappointed when it ended there. Also I felt like this book should've been bit longer so it could give more time to Alice and Pamela's relationship. I really hope there would be a sequel to continue this story. Overall It was a really fun and enjoyable book which captures everything about Pamela Iseley's life so beautifully. Whether you're are a fan of Posion Ivy or not, whether you read comics or not, you shouldn't miss this Poison Ivy's story at any cost. Thanks for Reading! :)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anniken Haga

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this! I'm not the biggest YA fan, but I do love Poison Ivy as a character, so I had to give this book a chance, and I'm glad I did! The artstyle is dark and atmospheric, and while it did a great job at setting the stage, I did find it a little flat at times. Not often, just a few panels, but it was enough that I felt I needed to mention it. It also made it hard to see the changes hinted at, which I think took away from the story rather to give it anything. The I was very pleasantly surprised by this! I'm not the biggest YA fan, but I do love Poison Ivy as a character, so I had to give this book a chance, and I'm glad I did! The artstyle is dark and atmospheric, and while it did a great job at setting the stage, I did find it a little flat at times. Not often, just a few panels, but it was enough that I felt I needed to mention it. It also made it hard to see the changes hinted at, which I think took away from the story rather to give it anything. The story in itself was very political - as it should be with Ivy - and hard to read. Not because it was bad, but because it was so real and true and painful. I can see myself ending up in Ivy's shoes, if I went through the things she did. In that sense, I find that this is a pretty good origin story for Poison Ivy - especially regarding the name. As a fan of the newer Ivy, however, I was a little on the fence regarding the ending, but it is open enough that it can go either way, and I'm glad for that. I can see how this book fits into the same universe as Harleen, actually. The characters were as good as they could be with such few pages, but I don't think it took away from the story in any way. I really did like the LGBTQ+ lovestory, because it was so casual. I'm all for books exploring coming into yourself stories regarding LGBT+, but I also think that the best way to make it less taboo is to just have it as part of a story and not the main point, as was done here. SPOILERS AHEAD! One things I did have a problem with, was the mother. Not in her role or anything, but the general probability of her being able to make any loud sounds or even say a name while incubated. The tube goes down her throat and I can't see her making the noises she did in this story, which kind of take away from the mild horror factor of it all.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    **Review coming soon**

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julia Pika

    Thanks to Edelweiss & DC for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. A dark gothic re-imagining of Pamela Isley's transformation into Poison Ivy, this story is less superhero-ish and more grounded in its story. A true tale of tragedy that's sure to please any Poison Ivy fans! It's fascinating to see Pamela's moral compass fall apart as her life gets more and more complex. Thanks to Edelweiss & DC for the early copy in exchange for an honest review. A dark gothic re-imagining of Pamela Isley's transformation into Poison Ivy, this story is less superhero-ish and more grounded in its story. A true tale of tragedy that's sure to please any Poison Ivy fans! It's fascinating to see Pamela's moral compass fall apart as her life gets more and more complex.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bárbara

    Could've been better if it wasn't so rushed. Could've been better if it wasn't so rushed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jena

    4.5/5 Really enjoyable re-imagining of Poison Ivy's origin with a bit of a gothic bent to it. Most of the story revolves around control and autonomy - both for the plants Pamela wants to protect and her own self which is being abused and harassed. I fully admit that I rounded up because I love Ivy so much and it's just always depressingly rare when she's written with care. I also really liked her love interest, but this is also bias as I'm always a sucker for cute goth girls. My biggest complaint 4.5/5 Really enjoyable re-imagining of Poison Ivy's origin with a bit of a gothic bent to it. Most of the story revolves around control and autonomy - both for the plants Pamela wants to protect and her own self which is being abused and harassed. I fully admit that I rounded up because I love Ivy so much and it's just always depressingly rare when she's written with care. I also really liked her love interest, but this is also bias as I'm always a sucker for cute goth girls. My biggest complaint is because this is so short, the pacing seems to go by extremely fast. Content warnings: sexual assault/harassment, death, medical scenes (character in a coma with breathing tube), abuse, forced medical procedures/medical abuse, victim-blaming BS (classic "you should dress different, than the boys won't bother you" advice). Representation: sapphic

  20. 4 out of 5

    Artemis

    'Poison Ivy: Thorns' is a gothic horror reimagining of the origin of DC's famous femme fatale ecoterrorist. As well of being a victim of the patriarchy and the inexhaustible forms of misogynistic abuse that come with it, teenage Pamela Isley loves and idolises her varying-state-of-fridging mother very much. It was she who inspired Pamela's love of plants, and who had wanted to call her daughter Ivy. Pamela took her moniker from that, out of respect for her smart and passionate mum. 'Poison Ivy: Th 'Poison Ivy: Thorns' is a gothic horror reimagining of the origin of DC's famous femme fatale ecoterrorist. As well of being a victim of the patriarchy and the inexhaustible forms of misogynistic abuse that come with it, teenage Pamela Isley loves and idolises her varying-state-of-fridging mother very much. It was she who inspired Pamela's love of plants, and who had wanted to call her daughter Ivy. Pamela took her moniker from that, out of respect for her smart and passionate mum. 'Poison Ivy: Thorns' proves that Pamela Isley is very much, undoubtedly human. No longer is she a villain, a seductress created by the male gaze that traps poor innocent men and needs to be beaten and taken down a peg, thus "balance" is restored. She's an antiheroine, because she doesn't play by anyone's rules but her own. Toxic, entitled, stubborn and messed up men will not own and control her and her body anymore. She has agency, and power, and she will learn not to be afraid to use it. (Heck, even before she fully develops her flower power and poisonous kiss, she has a personal greenhouse at her school, and she handmakes her red lipstick.) What else does the comic prove about Pamela Isley that is now canon? She is very much, undoubtedly LBGTQ; her ecoterrorism, shady and scary home life, and metahuman horticultural powers are not the only things she feels she has to hide about herself. Domestic abuse victim Pamela has been directly taught that no one but family is to be trusted. Her growing relationship with fellow high school student Alice Oh challenges this. And there is danger in that, too; in forming an outside connection, a friendship, an outlet for spilling her secret pain, and in falling in love. Alice only wants to help Pamela, to earn her trust through kindness, compassion and support. Is Pamela brave enough to allow such openness - and real love - in her terrifying situation? Can poor young Pamela even trust herself after everything - every act, every façade, all she's suffered through to protect/possibly save her broken family - spirals out of control and comes crashing down? Such is the intrigue of 'Poison Ivy: Thorns'. It is an updated, relevant and progressive origin for a DC character, like 'Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed', which came out the year before. It is beautiful in its gothic, Victorian aesthetic and art, that's set in modern times. Think Mary Shelley meets 'The Haunting of Hill House' meets 'The Little Shop of Horrors'. One other thing I have to point out about 'Poison Ivy: Thorns': Pamela Isley isn't drawn as being skinny. Leaving aside the various scars of emotional (and hidden physical) abuse, she looks like a regular teen girl, a regular human, by all accounts. A rotund-hipped Poison Ivy (whose weight is never commented on) is something truly new, bold, daring and challenging. I love it. For more of my thoughts on Ivy, read my review of 'Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death' here. Women are strong. Women are amazing. Women possess power that is unique and intrinsic to them and them alone. Women survive, and thrive. Like everything in nature, they will continue to prosper, to flourish, to exist, no matter how much they are ignored, hated, dictated, beaten, abused, and silenced. Final Score: 4/5

  21. 5 out of 5

    robins' round

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am honestly speechless after reading Thorns. The story in itself isn't exactly surprising, you can easily tell the way it's going to go. After all, it uses a lot of known tropes. And yet I was completely captivated while reading; I couldn't stop once I started and read the whole thing in one sitting (it seems like not much of an achievement, the graphic novel isn't that long, but with my span focus? A miracle.) The story just flows so smoothly and the art style helps a lot, it is /lovely/. It' I am honestly speechless after reading Thorns. The story in itself isn't exactly surprising, you can easily tell the way it's going to go. After all, it uses a lot of known tropes. And yet I was completely captivated while reading; I couldn't stop once I started and read the whole thing in one sitting (it seems like not much of an achievement, the graphic novel isn't that long, but with my span focus? A miracle.) The story just flows so smoothly and the art style helps a lot, it is /lovely/. It's simple but so pretty. I could stare at some panels for a long time and not get bored (the ones covering a whole page/2-pages? Beautifully drawn.) This book manages to show us how vile Poison Ivy is, it points out flaws in her logic and in her sanity. The things she does are awful. Period. BUT it also lets us sympathize with her. It shows us her being used, being mistreated, and abused. It shows us her just being a girl, loving and being loved in return. And I adored it. And I may be biased because of the wlw rep, I admit. Alice and Pamela's relationship gave me butterflies, Alice is a complete sweetheart, but of course, they could not end with a happily ever after. Which makes me sad but at the same time... it is better for Alice. And, in a way, it is better for Poison Ivy. I'm grieving Pamela though. Sweet girl.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    DC Comics provided a e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions my own. In Poison Ivy: Thorns, Pamela Isley is different from other high schoolers. She is a loner who also hides a secret from her fellow high school classmates. Her mother is ill and her father is trying to find a cure but everyone just thinks that her mom is off on a research trip. In reality Pamela’s mother is in a coma in the families basement. Staunchly private, Pamela’s unstable father makes the curious DC Comics provided a e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions my own. In Poison Ivy: Thorns, Pamela Isley is different from other high schoolers. She is a loner who also hides a secret from her fellow high school classmates. Her mother is ill and her father is trying to find a cure but everyone just thinks that her mom is off on a research trip. In reality Pamela’s mother is in a coma in the families basement. Staunchly private, Pamela’s unstable father makes the curious decision to invite Pamela’s classmate April into their home. Pamela would prefer to get lost in the school’s greenhouse but as a male classmate begins to harass her, Pamela makes a decision that will change the course of her life. The character of Pamela goes through a change mostly because of the abuse she endures from the men in her life. Her father is emotionally and then physically abusive as is her classmate Brett. This abuse shapes her into the woman that eventually becomes Poison Ivy. Author Kody Keplinger showcases the parallels in Pamela’s story compared to the plants who get abused by these same people. Eventually Pamela fights back and none of her abusers get a happy ending which is how it should be. Poison Ivy Thorns has a dark gothic type feel to the illustrations. Lots of blacks and greens fill Pamela’s world in this novel and her features sharpen throughout the course of the story as she resolves to get revenge on her enemies. One confusing aspect was the behavior of Pamela’s father who forces her to participate in experiments as he researches a cure for her mother. He has a tragic end but I didn’t quite understand his reasoning. Did he blame Pamela for her mother’s illness? Was he mentally ill himself? Why did he expound on the virtues of privacy if he was going to invite April into their home. None of that made sense. For the most part, Poison Ivy: Thorns is a really solid origin story that includes diversity and a same sex relationship which queer teens will appreciate.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    My favorite vegan lesbian ecoterrorist 🥰🥰🥰 On a more serious note anything with Ivy I'm bound to love. The art style of this was also STUNNING. I just feel like I'd enjoy this more if the themes weren't as heavy handed and if there wasn't as much of a focus on the romantic relationship. Ivy's backstory also falls into some clichés and logistical issues (but seeing that this is ya it gets more of a pass). Anyways stan Ivy My favorite vegan lesbian ecoterrorist 🥰🥰🥰 On a more serious note anything with Ivy I'm bound to love. The art style of this was also STUNNING. I just feel like I'd enjoy this more if the themes weren't as heavy handed and if there wasn't as much of a focus on the romantic relationship. Ivy's backstory also falls into some clichés and logistical issues (but seeing that this is ya it gets more of a pass). Anyways stan Ivy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Dunmire

    That was good! Sad, though. Pamela has a sad history with her parents and is treated poorly by her peers. Love that she’s so eco-friendly and how that informs her future villainous self, despite coming from innocent origins. I enjoy origin stories of villains, and this was a well-done teen version.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cy

    very cool gothic romance. ivy is such an icon

  26. 5 out of 5

    Frances

    I don’t normally read graphic novels. I did enjoy this one both for the story and the artwork.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baker

    I've been waiting for this to arrive for some time, and it did not disappoint! I devoured it this morning! It's so rare for Ivy to get a fair shake these days, in particular in the main DC continuity, that it is fantastic to see a stand alone story told with sensitivity, originality & style. Thorns is an origin story that gets to the heart of her environmentalism & love of plants, distrust of people (in particular men), and even some of her powers and skills with chemistry. In story, part of frank I've been waiting for this to arrive for some time, and it did not disappoint! I devoured it this morning! It's so rare for Ivy to get a fair shake these days, in particular in the main DC continuity, that it is fantastic to see a stand alone story told with sensitivity, originality & style. Thorns is an origin story that gets to the heart of her environmentalism & love of plants, distrust of people (in particular men), and even some of her powers and skills with chemistry. In story, part of frankly the best thing DC's got going on right now, their group of graphic novels for younger readers, Pamela is a high school senior living with her abusive, domineering father (and doubling as his guinea pig for lab experiments), she's being harassed by the boy she agreed to go to homecoming with, and she attends a school whose administration, when she reports the harassment, explicitly states that it's a "crush", that he's a "good boy from a rich family", and the classic "maybe you should change how you look if you don't want to draw boys attention"...let me tell you, I saw red during that interaction! The only people on Pamela's side in the story are her encouraging chemistry teacher, Mr. Crowley, her love interest, the adorable goth girl Alice Oh. Both characters encourage her to believe in her self worth, and to stand up for herself (even if the end results of that may be a bit extreme). If there is one thing I would say that I find questionable would be Alice's willingness to overlook murder, but I can let it pass. This book does so much right. It doesn't shy away from the dark extremes of Pamela's personality, or the lengths she'll go when pushed too far. At the same time, it recognizes how much of that push-back she has is because she's an abuse survivor, one who's been brought up without the coping mechanisms to deal with it in a healthy manner. It explicitly acknowledges Ivy's bisexuality, something that can be very hard to get when DC isn't trying to get Pride Month points (which, in fairness, this book is probably also trying to go for, why else is it releasing June 1st, but I digress). Plus, the artwork! It's gorgeous! Sara Kipin's lines bring to mind the best of Tim Sale while still being wholly it's own thing. And Jeremy Lawson's colours compliment Sara's artwork so well...everything has an almost sepia-feel to it, so that even though the story is set in the modern day, between the colours and the outfits and the lines of Isley Mansion, it feels like a classic gothic tale. A+, fantastic. DC main editorial, take note and stop fucking up Ivy in the main continuity!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Poison Ivy is one of my all-time favorite superpowered characters, so I was really excited to see any sort of new graphic novel starring her! Seeing Pamela/Ivy come into herself, stand up for what she wants, and just in general be the badass brainiac she is was the strongest aspect of the story. She really does read like a teen who is still figuring herself out, and I think a lot of young readers will connect with her. The plot itself was downright predictable - there are absolutely zero moments Poison Ivy is one of my all-time favorite superpowered characters, so I was really excited to see any sort of new graphic novel starring her! Seeing Pamela/Ivy come into herself, stand up for what she wants, and just in general be the badass brainiac she is was the strongest aspect of the story. She really does read like a teen who is still figuring herself out, and I think a lot of young readers will connect with her. The plot itself was downright predictable - there are absolutely zero moments that took me by surprise, and I think the writing could have been more creative in that respect. Also, the side characters suffer from major Side Character Meant to Develop the Plot Syndrome. Even Alice, the charming goth that she is, has zero personality besides being a feisty goth who likes Ivy (did I mention she's goth? Just making sure you know Alice is goth, because that's basically her sole personality trait). That being said, it WAS fun to see her and Ivy come together; I think they make a sweet young-love couple (although I'm still a diehard Harlivy believer). ;)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Probably more like 3.5 stars. The art is great, this definitely fleshes out Poison Ivy’s character, but the romance feels a little shoe-horned in. Which is a big disappointment since this was advertised as an LGBTQA+ storyline.

  30. 5 out of 5

    AJ

    This one I've changed the rating on, because I'm still, trying to work out how I feel about it. On the one hand, this should be one of my favorites. I'm a Bisexual plant lady who loves Gothic literature and Comic Books, this was made for me, and yet.... I didn't hate it at all, as my rating should show, but there were definitely parts that seemed underwhelming. Also, a couple of trigger warnings . There is verbal sexual harassment , misogyny and child abuse (view spoiler)[ though it's in scientifi This one I've changed the rating on, because I'm still, trying to work out how I feel about it. On the one hand, this should be one of my favorites. I'm a Bisexual plant lady who loves Gothic literature and Comic Books, this was made for me, and yet.... I didn't hate it at all, as my rating should show, but there were definitely parts that seemed underwhelming. Also, a couple of trigger warnings . There is verbal sexual harassment , misogyny and child abuse (view spoiler)[ though it's in scientific experiments and guilt tripping her into this , rather then a fully "realistic" form. Though the emotional manipulation is there. (hide spoiler)] First, let's talk art. This is.... probably my least favorite art of this line so far, which is not saying it's bad at all. In fact, it really suits the Gothic setting of the novel. Not quite Tim Burton (and the plot lacks that dark humor and quirks) but not the uber realistic feel that is popular in a lot of comics. To me, it was a bit distracting at first, but when it comes to art, YMMV. The plot of this is...truly a Gothic tale, Beautiful but odd young woman living in old mansion with many family secrets, a scientist working on diabolic experiments, an outsider being brought into the fold..... I got alot of Stoker/House of Usher vibes in the parts that took place in the house, while the stuff outside of it....well some parts where better then others. This is a hard one to do completely spoiler free, but I'm going to try, with mild spoilers under tags. On the surface level, Pamela( who's mother wanted to name her Ivy) Comes from a good family. Her father and most both had fields that involved plants and ecology, and when a Local business threatens the park her mother( who is supposedly away on a trip) and her loved, she's determined to save it, by any means necessary. Her father, meanwhile, warns her about "drawing attention" to the family, and, alludes to secrets they have. He's, a creep, pure and simple. The only people Ivy truly seems to like it the green house manager and her friend Alice. Alice stand up for Pamela when she's have some serious bulling issues in school. (view spoiler)[ There is a boy spreading rumors that Pamela slept with him and makes a lot of gross innuendos this things eventually end up reported to the male principal who victim blames her, talks about how she dresses, etc. ) The boy gets what's coming to him in the end. (hide spoiler)] It's also not much of a spoiler to say that Pamela does commit some ecoterrorism at the park, and this is what leads to Alice staying with her and slowly uncovering her family secrets. Pamela's father has become a monster in his quest to save his wife and his daughter is caught in the crossfire. Alice and Pamela do develop a relationship, later ( again not much of a spoiler, since the book even has the pride sticker on the back) But it' not ...very front and center which is both good and bad. On the one had, I love having queer stories that don't revolve around queerness. The character is just... whatever sexuality they are and that isn't the main plot, just like in real life. However, I would have liked to see more relationship development simply because of how this ends. The ending, not happy, Pamela escapes her situation, but she will forever bear the scars of it. She's become her own person, but that person is not someone everyone likes and she can no longer have the life she did before, and cannot have the relationship/be the person Alice wants. (view spoiler)[She develops her plant control powers due to her father's experiments trying to cure her mother. She gets revenge on the boy who harassed her and her father, but murder by plant and all has pushed her to the darker side ( appropriate for a villain) but Villains do not get happy endings, and both Alice and Ivy know they are basically over before they truly began. (hide spoiler)] I do kinda wish we had left Ivy as just a plant controlling ecoterrorist without the abusive family narrative because (despite the feminist message) her power is forever connected to a man. That being said, she is using that trauma to fuel a cause that was important to her and her mother, so you can argue this is "reclaiming" the part of her that was used. All and all, it was atmospheric and creepy, though the HS Drama I could really do without. I think it's super important to have stories that deal with the realistic bulling and sexual harassment and how it effects people, but contrasting it with the sci-fi torment she's going through at home... it makes the realistic seem unimportant/lesser by comparison. Which, is simply not true. Because sexual harassment and the overlooking of it is something many readers have or will have gone through, while the other stuff..... highly improbable. (view spoiler)[ Also, real people dealing with this harassment don't develop powers to end their tormenters in a very karmatic way. If you're gonna show these more true to life situations in a YA book, it's always good to have a bit more of helpful ways to deal with issues besides supernatural murder.... even if it was satisfying (hide spoiler)]

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