Batman's Most Powerful Villain Can End Climate Change but He Won't Let Her

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Batman Secret Files: The Gardener #1, on sale now.

An examination into the origins of the mysterious Gardener in Batman Secret Files: The Gardener #1 (by James Tynion IV, Christian Ward, Tom Napolitano) has revealed that one of Gotham City's most infamous figures is not the villain she's been painted out to be. Poison Ivy, while dangerous, in the Gardener's mind could be a better force for good than her or Batman ever could be. And this isn't in the sense that she could be a hero.

The Gardener genuinely believes that if Ivy had the chance to heal from her repeated traumas, she could be a literal positive impact on the world, her already vast power capable of healing a severely damaged environment and maybe even healing divisions between groups of people who thus far have done nothing but tear each other down.

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Poison Ivy has historically been portrayed as an ecoterrorist, someone who does questionable things because she believes that it is for the greater good of the planet. But the Gardener explains that there was a time where Ivy had a much simpler, more idealistic dream to fix the world. When they first met while working for Jason Woodrue, Pamela Isley believed that she could find a way to let plants communicate with people, to explain how humans have been hurting the world in a more fundamental way than simply having a handful of scientists try and fail to convince people to stop damaging the planet for profit or comfort.

Unfortunately, Ivy's attempts to fix the world only broke her more and more, twisting the beautiful dream she had into something dark and cold. Batman only made this worse, becoming the physical manifestation of everything she despises about the world as it is. The Gardener believes that as Ivy's powers grew, so did her attunement to the pain the world is feeling. Ivy could literally feel just how much pain humanity was causing the planet and it only pushed her further and further into a darker place.

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The Gardener actively admits that her methods, while a stopgap for humanity's environmental damage, is ultimately not the true solution. She believes that Ivy, if tended to carefully and allowed to rediscover that belief in coexistence, could transform the world into a paradise, perhaps even truly realizing her dream of letting plants speak for themselves about how humans have hurt them. Thinking about it, she is not too far off. Ivy's powers have grown to the point where she could take over the world. The potential to revitalize the planet is there, but it all depends on humanity's ability to heed her words and limit their destruction of the environment.

And perhaps, even more than that, Ivy might be able to heal divisions. She's worked with pheromones since day one, but lately has been using them to control others. But there are other less immoral applications, using them to keep tempers calm and ideas rational. If allowed to act as a peacekeeper, Ivy could be the single greatest force for peace and environmental protection on Earth. To that end, the Gardener has allowed the more twisted Ivy to exist, while cultivating the idealistic part of her, the best part of her, the part that gives the Gardener hope for the future. And while allowing Ivy to continue using her harmful methods to get her point across was not the right thing to do, the Gardener did manage to plant a seed that could grow into a truly healed Ivy.

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Amer Sawan (608 Articles Published)

Amer Sawan is a reader, writer, and gamer and lover of all things nerdy from Florida. He is a graduate from the University of Florida with a B.A. in English. He has spent the past year writing for CBR. In his free time Amer enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons with his friends, both as a Dungeon Master and as a player. Follow him on twitter @AmerSawan3 and feel free to comment on article suggestions.

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