You might get more out of this review if you listen to Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” as you read it.
I loved GOTHAM CITY SIRENS when it began -- what wasn’t to like about The Riddler playing Charlie to Selina Kyle, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy as three deliciously morally challenged angels? Even though cheesecake was all over the place, writer Paul Dini and artist Guillem March delivered those moments in context of character and story.
It seems Dini and March are gone from the book forever (though March does provide this month’s absolute knockout of a cover that I just absolutely can’t get enough of; check out what he does with the mirror!). The last two issues were written by Tony Bedard; the second was better than the first, as Selina and Harley went all Ellen Ripley on the evil veggies unleashed by the Alien Plant Man who’d seduced Poison Ivy.
Now new writer Peter Calloway brings us a tale of Selina being kidnapped by sentient water blasts and ghouls made from mud and fire. It seems someone wants to plumb the depths of her brain for the truth about Batman and Bruce Wayne, but Talia comes to Gotham to try to protect that secret, and for some reason Zatanna appears in Selina’s bathroom while Selina’s naked in the tub for the seemingly sole reason of having Zatanna appear in Selina’s bathroom while Selina’s naked in the the tub.
Calloway tries to get the rapport between the girls right but never quite makes it, making fumbles like Bedard did but in a different direction. Bedard’s characterizations were too flat, while Calloway’s just don’t make sense. Harley, for examples, thinks that “pheromones” are “feral moans.” I know she’s ditzy, but she was also a doctor in a mental institution, and a doctor in a mental institution would know what a pheromone was. It’s okay to make Harley dumb about things, but the difference is that a writer like Dini knows what she’s dumb about and what she isn’t.
Injecting Talia and Zatanna into the story doesn’t help things -- if you can’t write the original three Sirens well, why shoehorn more girls into the story? It starts off pretty well with Selina in a dream state thinking about how much she misses Bruce Wayne, but after that, things just seem to happen too quickly and randomly.
Artist Andres Guinaldo continues to improve, but I still don’t love looking at this book the way I did when March was doing interiors.
This book is on a major decline, and maybe the time has come to just let it go. - John Bierly