I hadn’t planned to pick this up, based on the previews, but after Dini’s fantastic Batman: Streets of Gotham and following his great run on Detective Comics, I though the book deserved a chance. Gotham City Sirens operates as a team-up book between Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy in the extremely chaotic new Gotham City. Alongside the recent Batman & Robin #1, Detective Comics #854, Batman #687, and Red Robin #1 (and, of course, Dini’s other title, Streets), Sirens is also about the efforts of a number of former supporting characters trying to carve out their own piece of the City, in one way or another. But how does it work?
Despite some quality work, both from writer Paul Dini and artist Guillem March, though, the answer for the book is largely ‘no’. It’s a slight, breezy read, and Dini does a better job than I thought he would in introducing Catwoman into the beloved Harlvey/Ivy mix, but where it ultimately fails is in the art. March and Dini appear to have taken the theory “Give them what they want” to rather extreme lengths – the amount of cheesecake in the book is absurd.
Which is unfortunate. When March isn’t concerned with arching backs just enough to highlight both the breasts and the butts of the anti-heroines in every panel they’re in, he draws some genuinely dynamic fight scenes that were a pleasure to watch. His style is a little too cartoonish for the book at times – it seems like he’s trying to go for funny through exaggerated and never quite gets there – but his work is far from bad, it just isn’t used as well as it could be.
I’m also glad that Dini is following up on what happened to Catwoman in Heart of Hush, even if what happened to Catwoman in Heart of Hush was absolutely ridiculous (in a bad way). Dini provides the core of an interesting book here – Catwoman recovering from a recent trauma with two people she absolutely can’t trust… but the last she heard, Bruce was dead, Tim was seriously wounded, and the guy dressed as Batman beat the tar out of her, so her circle of ‘friends’ is diminishing quickly.
All that could be very, very interesting, played the right way. But instead, Dini and March seem to have opted to play it Charlie’s Angels style, a concept that may not exactly have staying power when you consider the fact that two of the three of them are two of Gotham’s most hardcore villainesses. And, to be entirely frank, I’m not sure I’d miss it if it were gone.