Poison Ivy graces the cover of Batman #41

Have you ever awoken to find yourself the reluctant participant of a shared fever dream? If you answered yes, then you and Bruce Wayne share that in common. However, that’s merely the tipping point. In BATMAN #41, Tom King and Mikel Janin craftily raise the stakes of their new arc, offering a new take on the idea, “us against the world.” Spoilers below, so beware.

Oh, Hello

BATMAN #41 opens with a dreamy reintroduction to Pamela Isley, the brilliant botanical biochemist more commonly known as Poison Ivy. The singular panel depicts an entrancing, but illusory Ivy. “How nice to see you here,” she says warmly. Have such mundane words ever been uttered so ominously?

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The fateful greeting is enough to snap Batman from his slumber, night terror sweat and all. Reeling from the dreamscape he experienced, Bruce looks anxiously over at his resting partner, Selina, who murmurs a greeting of her own to Ivy. Batman’s facial expression says it all.

As Daniel Kaluuya’s character in GET OUT wished he had done sooner, the Dark Knight races away from their bedroom, only to encounter a nocturnal Alfred, in his formal attire, waiting in the next room. “Where are your clothes?” the British expat ponders aloud.

How Unexpected

Quotes from the nightmare meet cute reverberate inside the detective’s mind. “I hate these things. I don’t know why I come. But with you here… at least there’s something I like here.”

Similar to a bewildered animal, Batman strikes Alfred when the butler comes closer to offer his assistance. A subsequent close-up shows a Batarang in Alfred’s hand. The Cape Crusader, at last, reaches the Batcave and takes a moment to collect his thoughts. Selina follows suit not too long after. Having come across an unconscious Alfred, she’s concerned about the situation and draws close to console her better half. However, something seems off with Catwoman. As the couple embraces, the rightfully suspicious crime-fighter inoculates her and then himself. The words “I love you” are uttered in the backdrop.

Batman #41
BATMAN #41 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The next panel showcases a collage of familiar and unfamiliar faces, all echoing their love for Pamela Isley. It’s the sort of spread that allows Mikel Janin and June Chung’s talents to shine.

I’m Ivy

Bruce once again awakens to those words. This time, he and Selina are dressed in the suits of their alter egos, sans their masks. “She’s here,” Bruce pronounces to Catwoman as Alfred enters the bedroom. Ivy, speaking through the beloved butler, recounts a time in which the Joker tried to defeat Superman. It’s an anecdote that pays off on the penultimate page. She also lays her cards on the table. Through an unknown, but surely fantastical means, Poison Ivy has gained control over the minds of the world’s population — with two exceptions of course, our soon-to-be newlyweds. The injection given to Batman and Catwoman provides an immunity to “it.” However, the cure works only at the onset of “it,” as a defensive instrument. As far as Ivy knows, and she knows everything now, there’s no cure that reverses what has happened.

Batman #41
BATMAN #41 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

What will the former botanical biochemist do with the world, now under her control? It’s simple, of course. She’s going to make it better.

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Everyone Loves Ivy

Poison Ivy has concocted some of the most powerful toxins in Gotham. Said toxins range from the instantly fatal variety to mind-controlling narcotics. King takes the latter and extends it to the grandest scale feasible. It’s a novel idea, and the setup is masterfully executed. Each panel resonates with purpose and the right amount of tension. We’re treated to not just one, but two sensational crescendos. The last of which gives our heroes pause over their next steps, which only adds to the excitement of what’s to come next.

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The Trinity

The trio of King, Janin, and Chung deliver absolutely stunning and creative imagery throughout the issue. King’s direction, Janin’s collaboration and pencils, coupled with Chung’s colorist flair brings us some of the best artwork to grace a BATMAN comic book. One particular highlight involves the Scarlet Speedster. On this page, Bruce clinches his fist as he prepares to strike a mind-controlled Alfred. Just as he’s about to land the punch, the Flash steps in to absorb the hit. It’s a fun, surprising sequence. Janin articulates the frustration and anger of Batman with considerable accuracy. In midst the chaos, Janin’s Alfred doesn’t flinch.

Alfred’s composure is equally well-defined by the gifted artist. Moreover, Chung’s coloring adds resplendent life and depth to these panels. Together, they create exciting aesthetics throughout the issue. To round out the bases, there’s a great subsequent line provided by King. That sequence is just one example of how well they all work together.

BATMAN #41 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Closing Thoughts on BATMAN #41

In BATMAN #41, King and Janin are in their element, with their penchant for great storytelling on full display. As readers, we get almost everything we could hope for in a first issue: suspense, action, grandiosity, and mystery. Two weeks can’t get here soon enough.

BATMAN #41 by Tom King, Mikel Janin, June Chung
Art 97%
Characterization 98%
Plot 99%
King, Janin, and Chung's talents are front and center in BATMAN #41. Furthermore, a suspenseful and bold opening issue signals great things to come for the new arc.
98 %
Amazing Start
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