Saturday, 9 December 2017

Gotham City Sirens, Volume 1: Union Review (Paul Dini, Guillem March)

Paul Dini is undoubtedly one of the all-time great Batman writers. He gave us the Batman Animated Series, the first (and best) two Arkham games, a bunch of awesome Batman comics and, probably his most significant and lasting contribution to the world of Batman, co-created Harley Quinn. That said, he’s not infallible and has written his share of forgettable drek which unfortunately includes this first volume of Gotham City Sirens. 

There’s disappointingly little in the way of story. Things get off to a very shaky start as Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn join forces to become the Sirens and subsequently end up not doing much else but bicker for a few issues. A tangible, but still weak, storyline emerges in the second half as Harley’s ex-puddin’ Mistah J gets a dose of the jealousy bug after seeing her going out with “Bruce Wayne” (secretly Tommy Elliot/Hush, standing in for Bruce while he was time-travelling back from caveman times - see Grant Morrison’s The Return of Bruce Wayne) and decides to kill them both. It’s momentarily interesting until the anticlimactic reveal which features a very obscure (for a reason) Silver Age character. 

The book reaches its nadir when Scott Lobdell (NOOOOOO!) takes over for an absolutely pointless issue featuring Dick Grayson/Batman and the Riddler, who at this time was trying to go straight as a private investigator in a dreary storyline that failed to no-one’s surprise. I’m glad it was only for an issue but the unmemorable case of these two stopping some nobody serial killers added nothing to the volume and could’ve easily been left out to no effect. 

Guillem March’s art is pretty good, if a bit ass-centric (the ladies almost always have their backs to the reader), and some of his character designs are questionable. The “bookseller” from the Lobdell issue looked like she’d be more at home in a strip-club! And, while he may be lacking ideas in the story department, Dini writes all the girls well. 

It’s not nearly enough to recommend checking this one out though - Gotham City Sirens, Volume 1: Union is a wearying slog through one boring comic after another. Nuh-uh!

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