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Someone please call Paul Dini and tell him to pick up a copy of Gotham City Sirens #17. Hopefully that will send him running back to do the series that has suffered so much since his departure. After suffering through issue 16, this issue’s character portrayal was decent but the story was boring and the art was terrible. The only thing worse was the way the artwork was accented by the colors.
Previously on Sirens, Catwoman was kidnapped in order to determine the identity of Bruce Wayne. Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Zatanna and Talia must now fight their way through this issue to get her back.
The writer of this arc, Peter Calloway, used to write for the TV series Brothers & Sisters. He should go back to doing that and leave the DC universe to Dini and Morrison. First Catwoman was easily kidnapped. The writer is underestimating his own character: Catwoman has been written as a strong character with a powerful will and yet she is still easily taken and her mind quickly infiltrated? I expected more from her and this issue. And like I said last issue, Selena has already been forced to reveal Batman’s identity before in the first issue of Sirens. I enjoyed that issue, however, while this one fell flat.
Characters were constantly reintroduced with a little logo saying their name that was not needed, since the characters said each other’s names only a panel before. We understand who they are just from that, so it felt awkward to just have their names written off to the side. Two new characters also appeared in this issue, Sempai and Shrike. It is an interesting choice to introduce these characters and add male roles to the all-female cast, but so little is shown of them that it will be hard to tell how well the characters are written until the next issue. Some characters were written pretty well, however. Harley was pretty fun, rather than a dim-witted and stereotypical blond and Talia was strict and serious like she should be, but Zatanna felt absent in this issue, only speaking once or twice, and the same can be said for Poison Ivy.
Artist Andres Guinaldo makes this issue worse. It continues to amaze me how the covers of every issue of Sirens can be so beautiful, with intricate characters and then inside the comic is a bad rendition of several beloved characters. Many character’s faces are neglected: their eyes looked beady and you could not see any emotions in their faces.
The colors were worse and seemed to mismatch the art. They were bland and the beautiful texture of color on Catwoman’s cheeks from her make-up, which helped accentuate the character, were absent in the comic when it should have been utilized. And at one point a dank cave was given a welcoming glow that was gone a panel later and seemed really misplaced. Selena’s dreams were colored nicely, however: they had a faint white shadow around them that gave them a dreamlike appearance that I would have liked to see more of. Unfortunately, this comic turned out to be more of a nightmare than Selena’s.
Peter Calloway’s story really is not interesting to me and I would love for Paul Dini to come back. I feel bad for saying how much I disliked Calloway’s work, especially since I actually really enjoyed his writing in Jokers Asylum II: Riddler. Maybe he can bring the skills he used there into his writing here, but I may not stick around to find out. Combined with the poor artwork and colors this issue was as disappointing as the last one. Thankfully it did not get any worse.