Supervillain Origins: Poison Ivy

Once a talented botanist, Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley was seduced by her professor, a man who injected her with plant and animal toxins as part of an experiment. Nearly dying, she was driven insane and emerged physically transformed by the experience. Her body had become immune to all poisons, her skin had begun to turn green, she developed the ability to control plants, and began producing pheromones that would make most men susceptible to her control. Join WatchMojo.com as we explore the comic book origins of Poison Ivy.
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Supervillain Origins: Poison Ivy

This eco-terrorist is arguably the greenest and most environmentally motivated of Batman’s foes. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we will explore the comic book origins of Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley, otherwise known as Poison Ivy.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginings and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen to primarily follow the storyline that unfolded in 1966’s Batman #181, before being expanded upon in 1989’s Secret Origins #36 and 1997’s Batman Poison Ivy.

Once a talented botanist in Seattle, Dr. Pamela Lillian Isley grew up a timid and shy orphan. Seduced by her professor, he took advantage of her affection and injected her with plant and animal toxins as part of an experiment. Nearly dying, she was driven insane and confined to a hospital for several months.

Emerging physically transformed by the experience, her body had become immune to all poisons and viruses. She likewise discovered that her skin had begun to turn green, and that she had developed the ability to control plants, and produce pheromones that would make most men susceptible to her control.

Enraged by the betrayal and experiencing violent mood swings that had her bounce from sweet to downright wicked, she decided to relocate to Gotham City. There, she began a criminal career by taking on the vine-covered identity of Poison Ivy, before threatening to release spores into the air that would suffocate the population. She did this in order to gather enough money needed to live in isolation with her plants, of which she had become obsessed, far from the reach of human civilization.

Stopped by Batman and sent to Arkham Asylum, she quickly became smitten with the Dark Knight, as he was the only man she seemed unable to control. At the same time, she developed her most infamous plant-enabled superpower, her toxin-fueled deadly kiss.

Following her escape from Arkham, and several run-ins with Batman, she eventually fled Gotham in order to create a second Eden on a desert island within the Caribbean. Unfortunately, her retirement was short lived as a corporation decided to test a new weapon there, firebombing her lush jungle. Surviving the onslaught, she returned to Gotham City to get revenge on those responsible, and purge the city of all traces of humanity.

In the process, Ivy befriended the Joker’s abused girlfriend Harley Quinn. This was due to their many stays together at Arkham and Ivy having experienced a similar pattern of abuse from her old flame. Meanwhile, Ivy continued to work solo, while enjoying the romantic tension mounting between her and the caped crusader.

A temptress-turned popular mainstay of Batman’s Rogues gallery, and one of the few with true superpowers, Poison Ivy has appeared in countless forms of media over the years. Some of the most notable instances include her live action portrayal by Uma Thurman in 1997’s “Batman & Robin”, and her appearances in the Arkham series of videogames.
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