Poison Ivy finds a very disturbing new way to take advantage of Batman’s childhood trauma in the latest issue of Batman: Black and White.
Warning! Spoilers ahead for Batman: Black and White #4
Poison Ivy accidentally used Batman’s greatest weakness against him with a disturbing twist in the latest issue of Batman: Black and White. Many members of the Dark Knight’s rogues’ gallery have found cruel and sadistic ways to emotionally torture him over the years, such as Joker killing Jason Todd or Scarecrow forcing him to face his greatest fears with fear toxin. But Poison Ivy’s latest plan might just take the cake for the darkest exploitation of Batman’s trauma yet.
Batman’s parents are a touchy subject for him, to say the least. His witness of their murder as a boy has been endlessly retold in comics as the defining moment of Batman’s origin story and the driving factor behind his plight to make Gotham City a safer place. The stories which feature Batman at his most vulnerable almost never fail to touch upon his relationship with his parents. Sometimes he speaks to the marble bust of his father when he’s alone. Other times he falls to his knees and weeps in front of their graves. Whatever the scene or interaction, the message is always clear: Batman still carries the trauma of losing his parents to this day.
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Leave it to Poison Ivy to unwittingly take advantage of that pain in her latest plan. Batman: Black and White #4 features a story written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Nick Bradshaw in which the villainess seeks out the help of Bruce Wayne to collaborate with him on a plan to save the Earth’s environment. The problem is that to coerce Bruce into helping, Ivy digs up the rotted corpses of his parents and reanimates them into zombies using her plants. Though Ivy and the zombified Waynes don’t get a chance to face him out of costume, Bruce does confront the group as Batman.
Having to face the decades-old, walking corpses of your dead parents is bad enough. Having to do it without giving any outward indication of your true identity as their son is even worse. Batman attempts to talk Ivy down while simultaneously acting completely unfazed by the fact that his deceased mother and father are literally standing right in front of him. Judging by the fact that moments involving Batman’s parents are typically when he’s most prone to uncharacteristically emotional outbursts, him managing to retain his usual stoicism in this situation is extremely impressive.
On the list of messed up things that villains have done to Batman, this encounter is definitely up near the top. The most ironic element is that from Poison Ivy’s perspective, her plan wasn’t even targeted at Batman himself. Regardless, this story from Batman: Black and White stands as one of the darkest times that Batman has had a chance to see his parents again.
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