- "I am Nature's arm. Her spirit. Her will. Hell, I AM Mother Nature, and the time has come for plants to take back the world so rightfully ours because it's NOT NICE TO FOOL WITH MOTHER NATURE!"
- ―Poison Ivy, after her transformation.[src]
Poison Ivy was the alias of Dr. Pamela Isley.
She was a former good-hearted botanist and scientist, but after a botched attempt by Dr. Jason Woodrue to kill her, Pamela Isley transformed into a crafty and seductive eco-terrorist who was half-woman and half-plant. Just as her name indicated, her exterior was as beautiful as ivy, but her interior was as deadly as poison.
Dr. Pamela Isley was a scientist and botanist who specialized in several types of flowers in a lab in South America, with her work sponsored and funded by Wayne Enterprises. She hated the way the world treated its plant life and attempted several experiments including using a South American rattlesnake and other venomous fluids to give flowers the chance to fight back against "the thoughtless ravages of man", but each one failed. Her employer and co-worker, Dr. Jason Woodrue, constantly took her Venom samples back to his area of the lab for reasons that were unknown to her.
Curious about what exactly Woodrue was up to, Isley crept into his lab and watched, horrified, as he used some of her Venom to turn a diminutive, skinny serial killer and only surviving test subject into a hulking, monstrous super-soldier who he dubbed "Bane".
Woodrue spotted Isley and, after he dragged her back to her lab, told her that Wayne Enterprises had cut their funding, but had it not been for her research, he would never have succeeded. The mad scientist asked Isley to join him, but she refused, saying that he had corrupted her research for world-domination, She also threatened him with the wreckage of his career, if she reported the horrific incident to the authorities, and added that he would never even get a position teaching high school chemistry, as well as and calling him a "psycho".
Unfortunately, Woodrue - who, although he respected her opinion, was not good with rejection - decided to kill Isley by shoving her into her table of animal-plant toxins, along with her rattlesnake and dumping another table onto her with various chemicals and the same Venom that had created Bane.
Woodrue left Isley, and allowed the poisons and toxins to burn a grave for her deep within the Earth that she loved so much, unaware that they were actually creating one of the deadliest and most seductive villains that mankind would ever know.
Sometime later, Woodrue entered Dr. Isley's former and dormant area of the lab, and conversed with the winning bidder of Bane on his cell-phone.
Suddenly, Isley's grave began to stir and, in a pink eruption, the seemingly dead scientist was resurrected as a goddess of irresistible and seductive beauty: slightly disheveled red hair that was nonetheless long and lush and brushed her shoulders, heavily-lidded chlorophyll-green eyes, and severely ravaged clothes that set off a tall, slender, and yet voluptuous figure to full advantage.
Woodrue, who had expected Isley dead, was instantly smitten with her, to the extent that he fell to his knees. The former Pamela Isley seemingly shrugged off her apparent death as a good night's rest, while an entranced Woodrue looked on. Isley revealed that the animal plant toxins made a "unique effect" on her; they replaced her blood with aloe, her skin with chlorophyll, and, after she kissed the scientist who immediately kissed her back, that her lips were filled with Venom, and thus, made her poisonous. She then pushed him backwards, with Woodrue choking and finally dying as he hit the floor.
Her revenge complete, Isley then trashed her part of the lab, shattered vials, spilled chemicals, and finally started a fire, all the while proclaiming herself "Mother Nature" and decided that she would use her new persona for floral world domination. After she caught the logo of her former work sponsor on a nearby vial, Isley plotted the next step of her plan. With Bane in tow, she headed for Gotham City, and left the whole lab to burn to the ground.
Arrival in Gotham
A week later, Isley arrived at Gotham Airport, caused ten security guards to be hospitalised, left a businessman dead by her poisoned kiss, and stole his limousine. Heading towards Gotham, with Bane as her chauffeur, Isley heard on the radio that Bruce Wayne was unveiling a special telescope at the Gotham Observatory, so she put on a wig and disguised herself in her previous identity of Pamela Isley and decided to go there.
Isley sneaked in while Bruce was at a press conference, and, despite her rude entrance, her pollen charmed Bruce as he greeted her warmly, and asked what he could do for her.
After she introduced herself to Bruce, Isley told him that she had already worked for him in South America. Bruce explained that he cut her funding because of Woodrue's military activities.
Isley handed him a proposal that stated how Wayne Enterprises could stop all actions that polluted the environment. Bruce admired Isley's intentions but told her that by using those actions, it would cause millions of people to die of cold and hunger alone. He handed it back to her and firmly stated that people came first.
Isley responded by calling them "mammals", threatened them, and said that plants would reclaim the planet and there would be no one to protect them. Everyone laughed and Gossip Gerty, one of the journalists, said that Batman and Robin protected them "even from plants and flowers".
Bruce handed her an invitation to the "Save the Rainforest" Charity Ball at Gotham Botanical Gardens, with Batman and Robin as special guests.
After she said a rueful goodbye to Bruce, Isley left and started to plot on how to get Batman and Robin out of the way so that Gotham would be hers for the greening.
Crashing the Party
At the Botanical Gardens building, dances took place. Batman and Robin were there with many rich business men who bid money for several beautiful flower girls such as Lily and Magnolia.
Suddenly, the original music died down, and all the people turned to see a pink furry gorilla dancing to a new tune while it removed and pulled off the hands and the head of its costume, and revealed a woman who was as beautiful and sensual as a goddess of nature: her lush waist-length red hair was adorned by red roses and green ivy leaves, her eyebrows are adorned by more ivy leaves, and there was a confident sultry smile on her full glossy lips.
It was Isley, who then held out her hand and blew out a pink pheromone dust, which caused some of her audience - especially Batman and Robin - to become thoroughly enraptured with her. Isley finally took off the entire costume to reveal an emerald-green ivy leaf swimsuit with green tights, and high-heeled shoes, all of which set off her voluptuous figure to perfection.
With a wink at her audience (which increased Batman's and Robin's infatuation with her), Isley suddenly dropped backwards while all the dancers caught her and lead her toward the main stage.
After she introduced herself to the awestruck audience as "Poison Ivy", Isley turned her attention to Batman and Robin and seduced them both further with her pheromone dust and her whispered offers of sexual pleasures. Isley then took the Eye of Isis (the diamond necklace that was donated to the charity) from Commissioner Gordon, fastened it around her own neck, and promised an evening of her company to the winner, with the guarantee that she would bring everything about her that was visible to the entire audience along with everything that was not visible.
The bids got higher and higher with the audience and the Dynamic Duo trying to outbid each other. It finally ended with Batman bidding 7 million dollars. Ivy started to enjoy her plan coming together, but it was soon interrupted by a villain named Mr. Freeze who broke in and started to freeze everyone in sight. Ivy watched him in admiration.
While Batman and Robin dealt with Freeze's Henchmen, Freeze went over to Ivy and demanded that she handed over her diamond. She tried to use her dust on him, but when it didn't work, she let him take the necklace.
After he thanked her, Freeze left. Batman and Robin prepared to go after him, but Robin stared at Ivy awestruck. Ivy noticed this and she blew him a kiss, before Batman immediately dragged him away. Gordon told Ivy that she had just met one of the most sinister men in Gotham. Ivy thought that Freeze could be useful in her next plan and took a Gotham snow globe to remind her of their meeting. She turned to Bane who was dressed as another gorilla and they left with work to do.
After she and Bane went through the alley ways and streets, Ivy recalled how resistant the Dynamic Duo were to her Love Dust, but next time, she would give them a stronger dose. She spotted an old run down place that was called Turkish Bath in Blossom Lane that was spray-painted and boarded up with signs. Bane ripped away the boards and the two barged in. They soon discovered the Golums, and their leader, who sat some feet away from a huge fire in the middle of the room.
Ivy stated that the place may need fixing up, but it had a homely charm to it. The Golum Leader looked at her, began to compliment her, and said that she was even good enough to eat.
Ivy set down a challenge to come and get her, which he willingly accepted. With that, the Golum Leader sent his gang to her. She sent Bane who sent them all flying by stepping hard on a plank that they all stood on. The gang then fled for their lives.
Ivy and Bane redecorated by removing the plastic hanging from the walls and the wooden beams that boarded up the windows, as well as broke a water pipe that allowed water in. Ivy planted her own seeds that instantly grew into many exotic plants that filled the whole place.
Ivy sat on a makeshift throne and told Bane that Freeze had a ruthless charm that she would be able to use to her advantage in her plan.
The Alliance with Mr. Freeze
Ivy went to Arkham Asylum, where Freeze was locked up for his crimes. Ivy arrived under the alias of Freeze's sister and was immediately let in by Freeze's guards who were amazed by her beauty. She blew her pheromone dust at them and instantly killed them with her poisoned kiss.
Freeze looked at her in admiration. Ivy went over to Freeze and gave him her proposal of an alliance. Freeze accepted, but asked what she wanted in return. Ivy didn't answer, but opened the door to let in Bane who brought back Freeze's cryo-suit.
After he got dressed, Freeze realized that his diamond powered cryo-suit was running out of power and that he needed the diamonds from his hideout. Ivy agreed to help him and noticed the other guards coming. She ordered Bane to get them out of there, but the room was reinforced steel.
Freeze used what was left of his energy and froze the pipes in his cell, which completely shattered the wall. Freeze gave out his instructions to his new partners and told them to retrieve his wife from his hideout while he grabbed his diamonds and his weapons.
Ivy was angry because Freeze never told her he was married. The three of them then dove in the waters below and the guards shot at them to no avail.
Ivy entered Freeze's hideout with Freeze and Bane, and they all entered a shaft where Nora was above them with Batman and Robin examining her. Freeze revealed his wife to Ivy who then told him to retrieve his diamonds while she rescued her and distracted the Dynamic Duo. Ivy blew her dust through the vent and the Dynamic Duo went after her.
After he was tossed by Bane, Robin was flung down the steps where Ivy waited. Robin, now knowing of her villainous actions tried to arrest her, but Ivy was unintimidated by the Boy Wonder and blew more of her love dust in his face and offered him a kiss. However, Bane knocked Batman into where they were, which distracted her. Ivy turned her attention to Batman, but he was able to resist her charms and attempted to arrest her. Just then, Bane suddenly appeared again and held Batman in a headlock while Ivy escaped.
While Bane dealt with Batman, Ivy cornered Robin on a walkway and blew more of her dust in his face. She continued to seduce the Boy Wonder. She convinced him he didn't need Batman anymore and could be his own man now, with his own "Robin Signal" in the sky. Ivy wrapped her arms around Robin in a hug, who was now completely in love with her and didn't resist, and slowly leaned in for a kiss with him. The Dark Knight however, knocked out Bane, stopped the seductive Ivy from kissing Robin again, and explained how her kiss poisoned people.
Robin took that as jealousy and attacked Batman to protect Ivy. Ivy watched as the two heroes turned on each other, which resulted in Robin being flipped into a vat of ice cream. With the two of them distracted, Ivy once again made her escape with Bane close behind her.
Later Ivy went to the room where Nora was kept, pulled out the plug of her cyro tank and left her to die. Ivy told Nora: "I've never been good with competition, who needs a frigid wife anyway?"
A Deadly Plan Formed
Back at Ivy's hideout, Ivy met Freeze who had already settled in and turned part of the hideout cold for his survival. The moment that he saw her, Freeze demanded where his wife was.
Ivy told him that Batman killed her. At first, Freeze didn't believe Ivy until she showed him the snowflake necklace that he had given to Nora as a gift. Ivy pretended that she was sorry about what happened.
Freeze was furious and immediately swore vengeance on Batman and Robin, but Ivy suggested that the society that made them what they were shouldn't go unpunished. Freeze picked up Ivy's snow globe and said that he would blanket the city in endless winter: "First Gotham, and then the world!".
Ivy was delighted and showed Freeze one of her Animal Plant Hybrids that would overrun the world, make them rulers of the world, and who would be the only people left in the world.
Freeze agreed and told Ivy to distract the Dynamic Duo while he prepared to freeze Gotham.
Once again, Ivy went to the Gotham Observatory again under her identity of Pamela Isley. She approached Commissioner Gordon and asked him where the Batsignal was. Gordon was confused at the question, but then Ivy blew her dust on him and he happily told her that it was on the roof of Police Headquarters. She then placed her arm around him and explained that she'd die to see it, but questioned his power to get access. Wanting to impress her, Gordon showed Ivy the keys. She then blew more dust onto him and he handed her the keys and smiled while he asked for her name. She grasped his tie and almost kissed him, but then said that he was too old for her and walked away. Heartbroken, Gordon begged Ivy to come back.
When they arrived, Ivy had Bane pull the Batsignal out of its place and carried it back to her hideout where she changed it to a Robin signal, while Bane went with Freeze to help him. She then turned on the new Robin Signal, signalling Robin to her hideout, where she would make her final attempt on his life.
Robin, after he saw the signal, arrived at Ivy's Hideout. After he went through several entrances that were made from flowers that closed up behind him, Robin arrived in the center of the lair and saw a giant animal plant behind a giant pond in the middle of the room.
The petals of the plant suddenly opened and revealed Ivy who looked more beautiful than ever, wearing a new red seductive outfit just for Robin and her hair styled to represent a blooming flower. Ivy sat on the plant as a throne as flowers rained from the ceiling and Robin stared in awe, stunned by her reveal and beautiful new appearance, as the entrance was blocked one more time by Ivy's plants to give the two privacy. She greeted Robin with a smile, and a seductive "Hi there." Robin went over to her, walking on the lily pads and lying beside her on her throne, and said if they were going to be together then she should give him a sign of trust. After she got nowhere with her attempt to kiss him by flirting with him again, Ivy revealed the plan to Robin like he asked, believing that he wouldn't live to make use of the information. Robin attempted to leave, but Ivy pulled him back, speaking softly to Robin "One kiss, my love...for luck." Ivy smiled seductively and Robin finally submitted to her charms. Wordlessly, she gently placed a hand on the side of his face they both leaned in, closing their eyes.
With a sly smile on her face, Ivy planted the poisoned kiss on Robin's lips with him eagerly returning the kiss and the two shared a passionate romantic moment. Shortly afterwards, Ivy pulled away from the kiss and sneered in mock sadness: "Bad luck I'm afraid. Time to die little Robin" as she rubbed noses with Robin and gently stroked his chin. With that, Ivy smirked at Robin and leaned back, expecting him to die at her side soon. But to Ivy's surprise, Robin peeled off a protective film that counteracted her poison so that it didn't enter his body, revealing that the whole thing had been a trick. Not only had Ivy revealed her plan to Robin, she had exposed her love to him was a lie and Robin had humiliated her by stealing a kiss from her. Furious, Ivy glared at Robin before leaping forward, shoving him from the throne into the plant infested pond to drown. As Robin struggled against the vines, Ivy walked away from her throne and waved goodbye to Robin, and tauntingly said "See Ya!" to him before making her escape, officially ending her "relationship" with him. She walked straight into Batman who had followed Robin, and, in retaliation, attempted to arrest her again. Ivy sent her vines to bind Batman up. She then tried to leave once again to meet Bane and Freeze at the Observatory.
Suddenly, a caped figure crashed through the window and landed right in front of her. The figure was Batgirl, the Dynamic Duo's new partner. A fierce battle ensued with Ivy struck down with the heroine's Judo style of fighting. As Ivy laid on the ground, Batgirl reprimanded her for using her charms and looks to get her way and told her in disgust that Ivy gave women a bad name, Ivy, in retaliation, grabbed a nearby vine and used it against Batgirl as a makeshift whip, telling her: "As I told Lady Fries when I pulled her plug: this is a one woman show". Batgirl responded pulling her backwards with the vine. Ivy pulled out a switchblade knife and was ready to stab her, which failed when Batgirl kicked the knife out of her hand and then kicked her into the giant plant throne. Ivy screamed as the petals closed in around her and supposedly crushed her.
The trio left Ivy for the police and went to Gotham Observatory to stop Freeze and Bane. Following the defeat of Bane and a fierce battle with Freeze, Batman showed him a recorded confession of Ivy attempting to kill his wife, but he had restored her systems; she was still frozen alive, and waiting for Freeze to find a cure.
Ivy was later shown at Arkham Asylum looking miserable and dishevelled from being inside the plant. She played "Loves me, loves me not" with one of her plants. Freeze, who finally surrendered to the authorities after he gave Batman a cure to help save "a dying friend" and was assured that his wife would be moved to the lab at Arkham where he would be able to continue his research, suddenly appeared in Ivy's cell and told her that he was her new cellmate who would make her life a living hell for what she did to his wife and her deceit, much to Ivy's distress.
Skills and Abilities
"The animal-plant toxins had a rather unique effect on me. They replaced my blood with aloe, my skin with chlorophyll, and filled my lips...with venom."
Though Poison Ivy was originally a perfectly normal human being, Dr. Woodrue's attempt to murder her with her own animal-plant toxins instead transformed her into a plant-human hybrid with a new personality and special abilities that made her a dangerous force to be reckoned with.
Examples of abilities that Ivy displayed:
Ivy's full, luscious lips were capable of secreting a poison that was fatal to anyone who swallowed it orally. Hence, her kiss was fatal to anyone who shared one with her, and served as her primary and preferred means of offence, especially since it was the only real way for Ivy to effectively murder her victim: after she thoroughly seduced her victim with her wiles, she would indulge said victim in a kiss, and cause them in turn to unwittingly swallow a potent dose of her poison as they secreted from her lips and onto theirs. The poison would work instantaneously when it reached their vital organs, and crippled their body from within. Depending on either the person or the potency that Ivy administered, the victim of the kiss would either suffer slowly or succumb to the poison quickly. However, the kiss could be countered by wearing rubber lips, preventing the poison from entering the would-be-victim.
It was never confirmed as to whether Ivy truly possessed the ability to control and manipulate plants. During the final confrontation, though she appeared to be able to order vines to grab and suffocate Batman through a verbal or mental command ("My vines have a crush on you!"). When Batgirl defeated her by kicking her back onto her "flower bed", the petals of which subsequently closed in around her and she appeared unable to escape its grasp. It was later shown that Ivy had managed to survive the giant fly trap, she was still left in a weakened disheveled state, which threw doubt in whether she possessed the ability.
With her gorgeous facial features, shapely voluptuous figure, and a new sensual personality, Ivy was an otherworldly yet natural beauty who could turn heads and leave onlookers stunned even before she utilised her powder. At the charity ball, by only removing the first part of her gorilla costume (the head) and blinking sensuously at her audience, she had them - especially Batman and Robin - enraptured with her, which proved that in certain situations, she did not even need her powder to entice a victim. She also had a wealth of shameless confidence that Pamela Isley could only dream of, and eagerly and playfully commanded a room as the center of attention with a few words and a smile. Coupled with her natural tendency to flirt with flawless efficiency, as well as her ability to effectively utilise every bit of beauty she possessed to full stunning advantage, she was the epitome of a siren to the male sex.
Weapons and Technology
Animal-Plant Hybrids and seeds
Ivy creates various mutant plants with the Venom formula. She designed multicolored seeds that can create mutated overgrowth within minutes. Ivy can use her vines as a makeshift whip, able to wield it with great skill.
Pheromone dust bands
Ivy has two leaf shapes on her palms that she blows on to spread pheromone dust that leave men open to suggestion. Due to her scientific skills in botany, Ivy was able to extract pheromones from plants and converted them into a powder-based love potion that served as a means of both offense and defense: she blew the powder into the face of her victim or foe, which caused them to immediately fall in love with her the instant that they inhaled the love-producing spores, subsequently become vegetative in their desire for her, and were susceptible to her every whim. Ivy usually used that powder to entice men so that she could move in to administer her fatal kiss. That also proved to be most dangerous for Batman and Robin, as not even they were immune to it at first, though Batman later learned to overpower it by sheer force of will.
When cornered by a female combatant, Ivy resorted to wielding a custom switch blade like a common criminal. The handle resembling a plant.
- Batman & Robin
- See: Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman)/Gallery for additional images
Behind the Scenes
Poison Ivy was played by Uma Thurman, selected by Joel Schumacher because he believed Thurman was the "most beautiful woman in the world" at the time. Akiva Goldsman drew inspiration from Neil Gaiman's revised origin story, Poison Ivy: Pavane, first published in January of 1989 in Secret Origins #36. Pavane is where the Jason Woodrue murder attempt comes from, as well as the name Pamela Isley. Prior to this her name was Lillian Rose. Ivy's last scenes in Arkham Asylum notably resemble her comic counterpart's appearance in Secret Origins, particularly with how her hair is arranged.
- Critically Thurman’s performance in the film sometimes receives acclaim, albeit only seen as an excise in camp. At the time The New York Times wrote in a positive review, "like Mae West, she mixes true femininity with the winking womanliness of a drag queen". A similar positive comparison was made by the Houston Chronicle: "Thurman, to arrive at a ’40s femme fatale, sometimes seems to be doing Mae West by way of Jessica Rabbit". In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle pointed out that "Poison Ivy is the film's best creation. She's a radical environmentalist who gets bitten by snakes and buried in vines only to rise up, gorgeous and redheaded, like Botticelli's Venus. Like America's original femme fatale, Beatrice in Hawthorne's ‘Rappaccini's Daughter’, Ivy has a poisonous kiss. Like Dietrich in ‘Blonde Venus’, she shows up at a ritzy affair in a gorilla suit". Thurman won a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for "Best Actress - Sci-Fi" in her role as Poison Ivy, and was also nominated for Favorite Movie Actress in the Kids' Choice Awards, and only lost to her co-star, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl. However, she was nominated for Worst Supporting Actress in the Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzie Awards), but lost to Silverstone for the second time.
- Her character arc is strikingly similar to that of Selina Kyle/Catwoman from Batman Returns. Both are glasses-clad women who get involved in an argument with their various bosses and an attempt is made to kill them, but they miraculously somehow survive, trash their living area or working area, and exact revenge on their killers (with the main difference being that Isley's boss is killed much faster than Kyle's).