Pamela Isley : Green-Eyed Monster
by Scott Summers
Don't you just get the shivers when looking into Dr. Pamela Isley’s eyes? Don’t your guts loosen up when those delicate baby blues—ahem, baby greens—turn to you without a fleck of interest, or spite, or even dislike? They’re seductive, all right, but they’re empty, and for a twisted spirit as dedicated to leafy, flowery life as Isley, they’re particularly unsympathetic to the human kind.
These empty portholes to the soul tip the scales for Isley, diagnostically: without a lick of empathy for her fellow man, Dr. Pam is a sure sociopath. The main thing Isley cares about is her brutal green agenda, about which she’s no wallflower: when Batman interferes, she throws deadly, crossbow-wielding, poison-tipped tantrums. Isley’s plant fetish is her métier, her fixation and, for a psychopath, her most glaring weakness. While Isley doesn’t care a fig seed for people, she fears profoundly for her plants—and this genuine compassion for leafy green lives dials her down from the Joker’s level of psychopathy. Sure, Isley’s not above sacrificing her creations in combat, or by way of saving her own (soy) bacon, but by and large she’d put plants first any day.
And here’s the first kink in this, the vegetarian version of an antisocial personality. As is par for the course for a sociopath, people are merely obstacles to Isley. They’re tools to be bent to her will with the judicious application of love potions or toxins. (She herself is immune to poison—a telling metaphor for her imperviousness to other people’s emotions.) And although she makes a spirited attempt to put down roots and take up the family lifestyle, it happens only on her own terms, with a husband and sons who are, quite literally, disposable. If their desires ever came into conflict with hers, Isley wouldn’t hesitate to mulch the whole mishpocheh.
Batman, naturally, does it for her at which point those wintry green peepers go on to do something unexpected: they cry. Sure, she’s been thwarted yet again, her mutagenic alchemy exposed, but what really stings is the loss of her new home, and the tears reveal another world inside her mind. Poor Pamela doesn’t just abhor men, or murderously defend plants. She needs to make emotional connections with her deadly bipedal succulents. It’s as if Isley knows she isn’t any good at relating to people, so she turns to plant-based love objects instead. To her a cucumber really is better than a man, but mostly because the cucumber can’t spurn her affections. It’s the one hint of a schizoid bud on this antisocial stalk. Isley needs relationships, but the human kind won’t do, and she’s not the type to adopt a schnauzer. Caring for plants so deeply—even “marrying” one—forms her schizoid compromise.
Until she meets Harley, of course, and finds that murderous redheads have at least one thing in common with homicidal blondes. From Harley, the distant Dr. Isley receives a simulation of intimacy. The two women share a commonality of purpose, as they dedicate themselves to larceny, lethality and the pursuit of the happy destruction of a mutual nemesis. Which shows that Ivy may not be completely aloof; if Harlene Quinzell, former psychologist, current hench-bimbo, and actual mammal, can touch this dark rose in some limited way, perhaps a real therapist could do the same.
But he’d have to watch out for those thorns.
DSM-IV-TR Diagnosis: 301.7 Antisocial Personality Disorder (with Schizoid Elements)