Thursday, November 01, 2007
D-List Monsters of Super-Hero Land: Poison Ivy's Chauffeur
"THE STORY YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR!"
Oh, so it's written by Kevin Smith?
No? Good. It's another Gerry Conway story, though. Just give me a sec to pound down an entire bottle of antacid (with a vodka chaser) and we'll dive right in.
Okay, that is one of the goofiest, most pathetic-looking tree monsters I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of goofy, pathetic-looking tree monsters. I own the entire run of DC's "Millennium", for Pete's sake! Remember that one? Where the Floronic Man looked way too much like that big-haired kid from "High School Musical", and he insisted that everybody refer to him as "Floro", like he was that weird, "kind-of" friend from college who showed up for his sophomore year with a tie-dyed dashiki and a scraggly beard, and he wanted you to call him "Moon Sphinx" or some stupid shit, and you laughed right in his face, and the next time you saw him, you called him "Moon Sphincter" and then you and your friends pelted him with beer cans until he went away? Yeah, it was kind of like that. But this guy--! With the hang-dog expression, and the walrus mustache made out of twigs--! He's the ultimate in lameness technology. Batman just needs to shove his sorry ass into a wood chipper and be done with him.
Now, this story is penciled by the magnificent Gene Colan, so the monster's sorry appearance might be his fault. But I doubt that, because the inker is Klaus Janson. I have no idea how Janson got assigned to this job. (Or any other, for that matter.) I guess editor Dick Giordano thought the delicacy and richness of Colan's pencils could best be highlighted via Janson's muddy, blobby, black patches and veiny scribbles. Honestly, I don't know what the hell Janson dips in his ink bottle to achieve such unremitting hideousness, but I suspect his main tools are a blunt push-pin (for fine lines), a mascara brush (medium weight) and a whisk broom (spot blacks).
See how he scarred up Poison Ivy's face, up there? You can't expect me to believe she looked that bad in Colan's pencils.
Oh, brother! Get a load of this doofus! Who really created this monster? Poison Ivy, or Sid and Marty Croft? It looks like an overgrown Muppet! I could buy this jerk-off as the mascot for some obscure community college's volleyball team, like, "The Fresno Fighting Ficus" or something, but not as an opponent for Batman.
Tree monsters are too stupid for reverse psychology, so Batman uses plain ol' forward psychology, instead, and points out the obvious. And because we're on the third-to-last page of a Gerry Conway story, the tree monster totally has an Afterschool Special Moment. Apparently, he never realized he was a tree monster until Batman mentioned it. I would have loved to have seen the tree monster face the panel on "America's Next Top Model", especially back when Janice Dickinson was still on the show. "Tree Monster, your hands are like bundles of sticks, you've got no waist, your hair needs to be raked, and I'm sorry, but in this photo, it looks like you have no penis."
Jeebus. Was the tree monster this simple-minded when he was a chauffeur? Because it's a wonder Ivy's car ever made it out of the parking garage.
So who's the real monster in this story?
Steel yourselves, gentle readers, for the Giant Sun Hat of Doom!
That's Ivor standing in the back, in his pre-arboreal period. You remember Ivor, don't you? Ivor, her chauffeur? And yes, that is Bruce Wayne on the left side of the panel, although Janson's inks have altered his hairstyle and face into those of some vaguely Mediterranean stranger. And I'm pretty sure that happy balding guy on the far left is supposed to be Barbara Gordon. (Kidding.)
Ivy looks awfully cocky for a gal with a humongous potato chip atop her head. It's frightening! It's immense! It could blot out the sun, if it so desired. Only it doesn't want to. Not yet.
And you know what? I don't think Ivy even knows she's wearing it. I think it just drifted through space (from God knows where) and just... settled... on her noggin. And she hasn't even figured out it's perched there.
At least, not until... now.
Tomorrow: Origami paper monster! Need I say more?