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Since Grant Morrison’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.  Dead? The new Red Hood? Hunting bats in the far past?  Nope. Turns out he’s been right there waiting to make a dramatic entrance.

gothamcitysirensCOVER.jpgFour issues in, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what Paul Dini is trying to do with this series.  If he’s trying to show how a team of female villains can team together for a variety of adventures, then it’s not working. If it’s his attempt to tell Batman stories when his Detective Comics title was removed from his hands, it’s not working either. Gotham City Sirens isn’t Streets of Gotham, yet this issue features less Siren action, and a heck of a lot of Joker’s revenge action.

Harely Quinn has been seen out and about with Bruce Wayne.  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.  Selina Kyle knows what’s going on and attempts to explain that to Poison Ivy, and later Harley without giving away the whole Bruce Wayne/Batman connection.  What does Elliot want with Ms. Quinn?  He wants to push her over the side of a tall building for stealing portions of his fortune.  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!  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.  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.  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 we’ve already seen in Mad Love, the Adventures of Batman and Robin, and Batman: The Animated Series.  And this is really disappointing as readers probably already know the outcome.

I can’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.  Dini does do a good job of keeping the story fast paced and the dialogue sharp, but scores very low on the Originality Meter.

I’m also not sure I’m liking Guillem March’s art.  At times it reads wonderfully, but other times, the over the top expressions, send the art into silly-ville.  Which is really odd, because March’s cover art is spectacular, but when the action starts to heat up, everything goes into extremes that just don’t work.

I know Paul Dini can tell powerful stories that feature female protagonists, but this issue just doesn’t do it for me.  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 we’ve seen it all before makes everything else fall flat.  I’m all for exploring the Joker/Quinn relationship, but I just wish it wasn’t the Joker pulling the insane-jealous-I’m-gonna-kill-you act again.  This series needs a solid direction, and until that happens, Gotham City Sirens only earns 2.5 out of 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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5 Comments

  1. Salieri
    October 5, 2009 at 3:22 am — Reply

    I heartily agree, Stephen, and not just because I have a degree of unmeasured hatred for this book. It’s also because, like Jeph Loeb on HULK, Dini has refused to do what the other writers do – carefully make sure their stories tie in with the new status quo without spoiling the story – by just deciding to play in the sandbox and throw his favourite toys around. The return of Joker after his treatment in R.I.P., the effects of Final Crisis, the death of Batman, the takeover of Gotham by new rogues, the emergence of a new Batman and Robin…should have been monumental; instead, we get silly, kiddy, non-threatening Joker acting out the tired and uninteresting pantomime with Harley Quinn again.

    Very dull.

  2. Ricco
    October 5, 2009 at 9:12 am — Reply

    I still can’t believe that THIS is how The Joker returns to the Bat-universe, I was sure he was the Red Hood, the whole “scourge of the underworld” screamed of his theatrics.

    • Salieri
      October 5, 2009 at 4:17 pm — Reply

      Like Countdown and the Detective run, if we ignore Dini’s continuity screw-ups then the more talented writers will simply act as if they didn’t happen. I certainly can’t remember seeing the Riddler as a cowardly moron in any other Batman book, or Kyle Rayner & Donna Troy watching over the Monitors in Final Crisis…and we were all the better for it!

  3. ButterscotchLion
    October 5, 2009 at 9:03 pm — Reply

    Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, none of March’s art works, ever. Guy needs to take anatomy classes. I agree with the rest of the review, though. The Joker appearance did just not feel right.

  4. June 2, 2010 at 6:36 am — Reply

    I love this series so much !!!!! It’s so great .

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