Since Grant Morrisonâ€™s R.I.P., the Joker has been pretty scarce, and some have speculated where the Clown Prince of Crime might have wandered off to.Â Dead? The new Red Hood? Hunting bats in the far past?Â Nope. Turns out heâ€™s been right there waiting to make a dramatic entrance.
Four issues in, and Iâ€™m still trying to figure out exactly what Paul Dini is trying to do with this series.Â If heâ€™s trying to show how a team of female villains can team together for a variety of adventures, then itâ€™s not working. If itâ€™s his attempt to tell Batman stories when his Detective Comics title was removed from his hands, itâ€™s not working either. Gotham City Sirens isnâ€™t Streets of Gotham, yet this issue features less Siren action, and a heck of a lot of Jokerâ€™s revenge action.
Harely Quinn has been seen out and about with Bruce Wayne.Â This is good for the TMZ crowd, but for those of us in the know, we already are aware that Bruce Wayne is really Thomas Elliot going through the motions following his plastic surgery.Â Selina Kyle knows whatâ€™s going on and attempts to explain that to Poison Ivy, and later Harley without giving away the whole Bruce Wayne/Batman connection.Â What does Elliot want with Ms. Quinn?Â He wants to push her over the side of a tall building for stealing portions of his fortune.Â Seems like a reasonable solution if you are trying to get back at the women you hate most, and sully the Wayne reputation at the same time.
Only problem is, no one expects – THE SPANISH INQUISITION!Â No, really no one expected the Joker to appear on the scene, greatly upset that his love is two timing it with the billionaire playboy.Â For a re-introduction of the Joker into the Batman universe, this has to be one of the worst ways to do it.
The Joker spends the remainder of the issue trying to blow up Harley and Thomas, while Catwoman and Poison Ivy try to save the day.Â There are some great Silver Age moments in the issue, which make for a great laugh, but for those of us, who have been reading the on again/off again romance between Harley and Mr. J. this issue reads very much like stories weâ€™ve already seen in Mad Love, the Adventures of Batman and Robin, and Batman: The Animated Series.Â And this is really disappointing as readers probably already know the outcome.
I canâ€™t fault Dini for not trying to tell another installment of this insane romance, but every couple of years this exact same story resurfaces, and by now it is getting kind of old.Â Dini does do a good job of keeping the story fast paced and the dialogue sharp, but scores very low on the Originality Meter.
Iâ€™m also not sure Iâ€™m liking Guillem Marchâ€™s art.Â At times it reads wonderfully, but other times, the over the top expressions, send the art into silly-ville.Â Which is really odd, because Marchâ€™s cover art is spectacular, but when the action starts to heat up, everything goes into extremes that just donâ€™t work.
I know Paul Dini can tell powerful stories that feature female protagonists, but this issue just doesnâ€™t do it for me.Â It is full of action, plenty of things blowing up, and you can almost hear some James Bond music playing in the background, but the nagging feeling that weâ€™ve seen it all before makes everything else fall flat.Â Iâ€™m all for exploring the Joker/Quinn relationship, but I just wish it wasnâ€™t the Joker pulling the insane-jealous-Iâ€™m-gonna-kill-you act again.Â This series needs a solid direction, and until that happens, Gotham City Sirens only earns 2.5 out of 5 Stars.