Comic: "Gotham City Sirens #1"
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Paul Dini
Artist: Guillem March

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 7/7/2009

Plot: Catwoman, recovering from a recently sustained injury, gets her ass handed to her fighting off a two-bit chumpass villain. She decides to team up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, at which point "wacky hijinks" are almost certainly to ensue.

Review: Being a fan of Paul Dini and his creation Harley Quinn, I decided to pick up the first issue of Gotham City Sirens, a new monthly series featuring Gotham's most infamous bad girls: Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn. I was kind of hoping there might at least be a little depth to this series, but unfortunately it's mostly fluff. After hearing good things about Catwoman's series from a few year's back, I'd hoped some of that good writing might carry over here--instead it's mostly the goofy fun of Harley's eponymous series of the early 2000s, which was vaguely amusing but ultimately very forgettable.

I don't know why every time someone writes a comic that has Harley Quinn in it, they go for cheap, childish laughs, but I for one would really like to see someone delve into the more serious side of the character. Yes, she is supposed to be funny, but like the Joker, she is mentally deranged (albeit not nearly as bad as the Joker, more in an extremely codependent kind of way). I'd like to see a writer take the character on as a villain in her own right and delve into what makes her tick rather than deliver the same boring shit we've seen over and over again. Let's have her grow as a character for a change (and no, that god awful character arc in Countdown doesn't count).

Anyway, enough about that--in the first issue, Catwoman (still recovering from having her heart literally ripped out--yes, silly, I know) decides rather unconvincingly after getting her butt kicked by a two-bit thug named Boneblaster that the bad girls of Gotham need to stick together, so Ivy and Harley (always the follower) eventually agree, but only on the condition that Catwoman tell them who Batman was (he's "dead" anyway so why does it matter, right?). This is how the first issue cliffhangers, and of course we all know that Ms. Kyle is never going to reveal Bruce's identity, so you'll forgive me, Mr. Dini, if I'm not exactly on the edge of my seat here.

Guillem March's artwork is quite a joy to look at, and I felt the almost-pastel colors by Jose Villarrubia really fit the book extremely well, so no complaints there. In fact, the book itself isn't bad by any stretch--it's certainly entertaining and competent (though I do find it tedious when writers rely on a cheesy no-name "villain" they've created in an attempt to either add "tension" to the story or give the protagonist an unnecessary punching bag to beat up on to show the reader just how badass they are). It's just that I was hoping for a lot more. I like the concept of the book (I would love to see DC launch more books along this vein), and I'll give Dini at least another two issues to hook me, but if I still feel like characters are just "going through the motions" by the end of the first arc, I'm moving on to greener pastures.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Jul 7th, 2009, 01:00 AM
Three hot chicks getting together? Well, if this represents a decent comic book by any means, then I think that you should give the coming issue a try, Proto.
Jul 7th, 2009, 05:26 AM
Had mixed feelings about this one myself - I totally agree on how Harley's just not getting the quality treatment she deserves. And the story so far is indeed pretty 'bleh' - no-name villains are such a frigging cop-out. But it was a fun read - I like how the girls handled Riddler - and it's good to see that Marvel isn't hogging all the cheesecake.

And "moving onto greener pastures" - is that an Ivy joke?
Last of the Time Lords
Jul 7th, 2009, 08:06 AM
I agree about Harley 100%. Why can't she have more stories like the Eisner winning Mad Love, which also became one of the best episodes of the cartoon?

I think Ivy needs better development as well. She's had a few good stories over the years, like during the aftermath of No Man's Land when she wanted to martyr herself to save Robinson Park, but turned herself in to save the children she was protecting instead.

Years ago in high school I had a day long debate over who was hotter, Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn. Actually went around showing pictures to classmates and taking votes. Also included Catwoman as a control group. Ivy won, but not by much.
Pickleman's Uncle
Jul 7th, 2009, 02:03 PM
Is it just me or do you feel forced to talk about the art just to feel like you're writing a more legitimate review?
Like every week you'll write maybe 2 lines about it but it's not like you really give a shit since that amounts to about 5% of your review.

Jul 7th, 2009, 02:27 PM
Why wouldn't he mention the art? It's part of the comic, why wouldn't it be part of the review?
Sam Sam is offline
The Unicorn
Jul 7th, 2009, 03:37 PM
didn't Marvel Vixens come out this week too?
Jul 7th, 2009, 07:42 PM
I hope DC doesn't mess Batman up too much.
Forum Virgin
Jul 7th, 2009, 09:33 PM
A few idea's are itching me about this series:

First one is I think they're really moving for all 3 of the girls to go in one direction together before some inevitable break (which will probably happen if this book flops). Either they'll all end up back as villains or all end up hugging up to the New Batman like they were always friends. Something tells me that it'll be the villain way. Ivy and Quinn are a wacky duo and even if they've started to make ivy more sympathetic recently it's still probably so new that they can retcon it without much thought behind it. I just don't see Quinn going hero, even in her lightest moments shes still deranged as all get outs. With Bruce gone Selina doesn't really have her moral ancher in the world any more and getting the crap knocked out of her will only lend to her wanting to regain her standing in Gotham, Quinn and Ivy could just be what she needs, but it doesnt mean its the "good thing"

Also The fact that they wanted to know who Batman was, even though it really shouldn't matter to them because he's dead, lends to the fact that while it might really just have been "superhero girl gossip" or just plain curiousity they still have a invested intrest in seeing the good guy fall. Frankly knowing that bruce was Batman (even though it should have been a no brainer now that suddenly Wayne has a headstone in a graveyard as soon as Bats is pronounced dead) would open doors to them being able to deduce who the new Bats could be.. They're wacky but they aren't retarded beyond the normal scope of "oh we can't figure out thats just superman in glasses"..

The second thing is that this could be DC's Anti-thesis to Marvel's new "Girl Power" book, something tells me they'll never admit it but it's probably the truth. And while I hear that book, sadly I guess, is drivel, DC's book has a chance to come out telling a really good story since these are really awesome characters at their core. The writing will make or break it from there.

I'm also going to agree about Quinn, they need to put some serious tone into her. She's an awesome character and aside from her depenancy issues that lend to her madness she could carry a story on her own, probably in the same tone that Deadpool does with his mania. The problem really is that every one who uses her, even her creator, does it for the cheap laugh. Even to dumb her down, which is sad given her credentials. I think the only real way she's going to be used seriously in the coming months, or even years, will be in the upcoming Arkham Asylum game. So far it looks like she'll be pretty twisted in that.
Jul 8th, 2009, 11:46 PM
I think you guys really miss the point about Harley. She's not supposed to be deep, she's supposed to be fun. Her books, likewise are supposed to be a light read. Harley Quinn was straight from the animated series and for most people was such a potent character that when she finally made it to comic books backstory and added personality weren't needed. Quite frankly most people hear that distinctive voice and remember her sassy attitude from the series anytime she shows up. If you want depth I suggest you watch the "bad day" episode from the show because that is as deep as it should EVER get for her.

Also remember that the Ivy/Quinn team-ups also started on the series and they were very blatently setup as "comic relief" episodes. Whenever you see a Ivy/Harley team-up you should EXPECT a lighter read.

On top of that she is quite sexy, but not for the usual reasons. I don't know exactly how to put it but the fact that she is so shallow, so light-hearted (personality-wize) and "just the right amount of crazy" that you just can't get enough of her. To add in more serious tones and "depth" would ruin that sex appeal.
Jul 9th, 2009, 12:44 PM
HowardC: First, I want to say that I am not an avid comic book reader, so I'm not sure how much validity my following comment will have. I remember that you actually submitted an entry about almost the same thing regarding The Joker and how you didn't really liked him in The Dark Knight because he is supposed to be more of a funny character. Well, I haven't seen the film yet (you can start flogging me now), but I think that you should give the character a chance to show either the viewers (in the case of the movies) or the readers (in the case of the comic books) another side of what is supposed to be their commonly accepted personality. Remember that The Joker had a reason to become a criminal in the first place: he initially struggled to be a comedian and that caused him a lot of psychological pain which, in tandem with personal tragedies, made him become a sociopath. Harley Quinn could also be exploited in another way that could give more insight of what her deeper personality is, but without leaving her trademark antics.
Valkyr Addict
Jul 16th, 2009, 08:15 PM
careful about your request about Harley Proto, someone at DC might decide "complex character develoupment" means "darker and edgier" and totally ruin the character.