Batman 339 – Poison Ivy’s corporate power play, and Robin reflects on his origin

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In the years since her debut, Poison Ivy had faced Batman as part of the Injustice League, and the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and had gone solo against Wonder woman and Rose and Thorn, but Batman 339 (Sept. 81) marks her first time back in these pages, going one on one against the hero, since her two part introductory story.

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Conway, Novick and Mitchell spin this tale, which begins with a mysterious woman kissing Bruce Wayne at the exclusive Empire Club.  He does not realize that this is Poison Ivy in disguise, but then, as I said, it’s been a long time since they faced each other this way.

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While out on patrol as Batman, he feels an overwhelming urge to head to an abandoned building, and has the presence of mind to change back into Bruce.  It turns out that Ivy has approached and kissed all the members of the board of the Wayne Foundation with lipstick that gives her mental domination over them.  She forces them all to sign a document turning over the company to her, although she keep this a secret, not acting on it in this issue.  She also forbids them to discuss what has happened with anyone.

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Once everyone departs, Bruce changes back into Batman, coming back to confront Ivy.  The character as yet has no element of supernatural abilities, and relies on various plant-themed weapons, but this is enough to allow her to escape.

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Hoping that the mind control might be limited to his Bruce Wayne persona, Batman attempts to inform Commissioner Gordon of what has happened, but finds that even as Batman he is incapable of talking about Ivy’s plan.

This story arc then sits in the background for the next few months, before Ivy returns to put her plans into action.

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Dick Grayson is back performing acrobatics, now with Hill’s Circus, as he reflects on his origin in this story by Conway, Novick and Bruce Patterson.

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The story spends a bit more time on the boy’s life and experiences with his parents before their deaths, something rarely give much focus, so we see how much they taught him about continuing to try, and not giving up.

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After covering his recruitment by Batman, the story jumps ahead to their current problems, and Robin striking out on his own once again.  Curiously, no mention is made at all of the New Teen Titans.

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