Poison Ivy: Thorns is a deliciously dark retelling of Poison Ivy’s origins, featuring stunning illustrations that create a truly haunting atmosphere as Pamela Isley’s story unfurls for readers.
Poison Ivy: Thorns is a Gothic Retelling of Ivy’s Origins
Kody Keplinger gets to the root of who Pamela Isley is, even as a high school student. Right from the first pages of Poison Ivy: Thorns we see her passion for environmentalism, horticulture, and her innate distrust in others. Pamela has a lot of unfortunate situations surrounding her and she’s feeling a bit like a plant without enough life. On the top floor of her family’s gothic manor, her father has her grievously ill mother hooked up to machines, while he uses Pamela as a human guinea pig to find a cure for what ails her. At school, Pamela is being harassed by the boy she went to homecoming with, who has spread nasty rumors about her because she shirked his attempts to seduce her.
Pamela’s family secrets get harder to keep when her classmate and sort-of friend Alice temporarily moves into the Isley’s home after Pamela went a little Greenpeace on a parcel of land that was slated for development. Alice quickly becomes a positive influence on Pamela’s life. She’s there for her in the aftermath of her father’s abuses, she stands up for her at school when Brett bullies her, and she encourages her to stand up for herself. Despite her positive influence, Pamela does eventually reach a breaking point after Brett destroys her plants.
Like I said at the start of this review, Poison Ivy: Thorns is a dark retelling of her origins, so her breaking point isn’t the typical high school reaction to harassment and abuse. Pamela resorts to murder with a poisonous kiss. She lures Brett out to the woods that are slated to be bulldozed and lures him in to kiss her poison-coated lips. Unfortunately, when Pamela arrives home Alice confesses her love for her and kisses her too.
What happens next, you will just have to read to find out.
Sara Kipin’s illustrations make Poison Ivy: Thorns feel like a gothic horror tale. Her style is wholly her own, but at the same time, they also evoke thoughts of Edward Gorey’s macabre illustrations. There were so many panels throughout the graphic novel that made me think, “This would make an incredible print.” It’s a visually stunning tale.
Poison Ivy: Thorns is an unexpectedly dark YA graphic novel, but it is the perfect origin story for the woman that Poison Ivy becomes.