Friday, June 26, 2009

Review: Gotham City Sirens #1

Gotham City Sirens #1

Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Guillem March
Released: June 24, 2009

Let's start with that cover. It's the very definition of pin-up art, after all, featuring as it does three of the most salaciously fetishistic female characters in the entirety of the DCU, striking poses that can really only be described as being 'bootylicious'. From the well-defined hamstrings of Poison Ivy, the high-lighted roundness of Harley Quinn's buttocks, and the striking whip of Catwoman as she crouches with legs spread, this cover is pure pulp-level comic book sex. All of this dramatically uplit by huge klieg light and under the title Gotham City Sirens. One can feel the sharp bite of high heel and smooth coolness of latex by just holding the book in one's hand. It's stunning, really, and brazen, and announces the start of this new monthly title with a sly wink, gentle slap, and low growl.

It is always unwise to judge a book by its cover, just as unwise to judge a villainess by her protruding cleavage, so one must turn over this cover and partake of the story inside. There the reader is confronted by three very different characters, all fully-formed with enough backstory each to substantiate them in their own rights. Each one has played both victim and villain at one time or another, and each has had a special connection with Batman and the city of Gotham on some level, none more close or as serious as Catwoman, of course. So besides from bringing sexual allure and bold fetish costumes to the table, each brings with them substance of character that makes this book worthy of more than just ogling. After all, there would need to be substance to substantiate all the jiggle, surely, for things can not exist to purely bring about only playful pleasures of the flesh, right? Well, that's philosophical academic debate for another time, another review, perhaps. For now, it is only important to know that I found this first issue to be quite charming and fun, and not at all embarrassing to read.

While I come across many comics in my journeys that I would be loathe to have to read in public, say at a cafe, due to the over-boiled sexual content of the art or subject matter - namely, a fair amount of Japanese manga - this title would not be one of them. The female leads are strongly forged and presented with genuine affection, and they are presented in a story that shows them off in all their multi-faceted glory. Poison Ivy comes across as the worlds sexiest environmentalist speaking of her philanthropic financial donations to save rainforests from rampant clear-cutting. Catwoman shows herself to be the intellectual general officer ready to pull the girl-group together as she recognizes their individual needs and survival can best be served as a team. Harley Quinn provides the humor and childish fearlessness, as well as a charming little-sister naïveté to the group dynamic. Together they form a ridiculously comic, pop-art Charlie's Angels, minus the Charlie and the Bosley father figures. No, they don't need any male guidance, these sisters are doing it for themselves.

This first issue is really all set-up. We get allusions to the circumstances of each woman's most recent woes, as well as to the greater distress of Gotham City, and we learn that the villain community may be recognizing that there's a new man underneath the famous Bat-cowl. They kick the hell out of some ridiculous upstart wannabe villain and they trade witty banter, all of it leading up to an inevitable cliff-hanger on the 22nd page. It has all the makings of the most ludicrous sit-com. Can three Super Bad-Girls live together without killing each other? Hilarity ensues, credits roll, and "Odd Couple" theme plays in background.

So, issue read, let's revisit that cover, shall we. Is perception of this pin-up changed from plain cheesecake to something less fluffy and sexually sugary? Not really, and that's fine with me. I love this cover, and I enjoyed this comic. It's confidently pulpy, shameless, colorfully bold, and defiantly sexual. Those are all adjectives I would use to describe most of my favorite things in life, and many of my favorite women. Life can't be all Tolstoy and Beethoven.

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