I beat Arkham Asylum last night--I think Poison Ivy was my favourite part. There was something sexy about how her vine veins go over her underwear, and anyway she has a basic pantsless look. Though I don't like her hair brushed back like that and, to be honest, the character design seemed by far to me the weakest part of the game. I hated the wide muscle man look Batman and Commissioner Gordon both have, and Harley Quinn's costume was sort of a greyed out collage of colour, disappointing after the much bolder costume from the animated series that impressed the character on the fan consciousness.
The story of Arkham Asylum ends up making obligatory nods to Batman's commitment to justice and the Joker's soul being sold to chaos but really the plot here was little more than a decent garnish for the gameplay.
Ivy keeps taunting Batman as you try and track her down in the Asylum, and my amusement got piqued a bit by how every taunt had to in some way refer to the fact that she was a woman. "It's not right to keep a woman waiting, Batman," etcetera. I started imagining more ridiculous ones--"Come on Batman, I'm just vagina to see you."
But this isn't new, I guess. I went back and watched the first episode with Ivy from the animated series;
I guess this is tapping into a general anxiety about the strangeness of women to young or repressed male viewers. Though I'm tempted to try to read more into it. The Batman/Joker dichotomy works so well, and was so perfectly used in The Dark Knight. I guess Batman/Ivy, since Ivy's stories tend to have to do with her acting as an agent of revenge for the rape of the natural world . . . ew, then Batman represents society telling women to keep quiet about getting raped? Well, since Ivy's insanity is often shown to be detrimental to life, we could say Batman is fighting false accusations of rape or, perhaps with potential for poignancy, misdirected revenge? It could create tension when Ivy could for a moment actually seem justified in fighting Batman. Poor Ivy, even her fundamental matrix works against her. I wonder if there's been a really good Poison Ivy story in the comics. Of course, there's also the conservative strong man Batman versus the liberal environmentalist Ivy dichotomy I think has been played on more than once, but that's a bit depressing to think on.