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Review Group: Gotham City Sirens #12

guitarsmashley had the pick for new comics shipping May 26th and he selected Gotham City Sirens #12 by Tony Bedard and Peter Nguyen.


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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

When notorious grumpypants guitarsmashley starts apologizing repeatedly you know shit done gone wrong. Gotham City Sirens #12 got Dini'd and shipped with a story by Tony Bedard and art by Peter Nguyen instead of the Paul Dini and Guillem March comic that DC promised. In a shocking twist, this turn of events was not well received.
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0526-gcsirens_cover.jpgReview by thefourthman

Yay, it’s not a Dini issue. Let the complaining commence.

My only real problem with that stems from the solicit. A. they knew two months ago that Dini’s issue wouldn’t be ready to go, what’s the deal. B. Is this the story that was supposed to follow that issue? Reason I ask is Ivy is at S.T.A.R. screwing with employees there, was this part of the previous storyline? Or did they just skip the Dini Issue to get to it later?

The majority of this issue deals with Selina going after her batshit crazy sister. She’s nuts and those are my favorite kind of villains. The family angle only makes it more fun. Where can I see more of the murderous sister of Catwoman?

I like the story enough. It is nothing special, really. It just plays to my enjoyment of crazy ass things happening in comics with lucid storytelling. That’s the difference between this and Dark Knight Strikes Again – lucidity.

The art is less likeable. There is not a steady line at play and while the designs of Selina and Harley overcome the poor art, the rest of the characters, not so much. With hyper realistic coloring by Avina that is just out of place (odd considering that he has colored Sleeper and knows how to not make things look 3D and unnaturally real), it looks even worse. Fortunately, there is not a lot of complexity to the action that is driven through the script, so as bad as the art is, it doesn’t detract from the story.

A slight let down after reading the first hardcover – I liked that enough not to let this destroy my opinion of the book.

Story 6
Art 3
Overall 4.5

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Review by BlueStreak

About a year ago, when DC revamped the Batman line, I looked at all the different titles and decided which books would fit into my budget. Gotham City Sirens did not make the cut. To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of Catwoman or Harley Quinn, and the art didn't wow me. After I read a couple of reviews on the interwebs, I wondered if maybe I was wrong and that this was one of those good books that just happened to not sell very well.

One year later, I finally picked up an issue to see what the fuss was about. And that issue...is a fill in issue. And what a fill in issue it is! Cat killing! Nuns with swords! Connotations of Angel Sex! Other bland uses of Catholic symbolism! Hey, let's have Catwoman beat up on an archbishop. Because she's an antihero! And no one likes Catholics anyways! (The real irony is that the penciller, Peter Nguyen, shares his name wtith a well-known Vietnamese Catholic priest and human rights activist.) But I digress.

All of my kvetching aside, this isn't the worst comic I bought today. Tony Bedard (who I'm convinced is DC's go to guy for fill-in story arcs) does a decent job of getting the main characters' voices right. And the art is no worse than that in War of the Supermen (which is really more of an insult towards War of the Supermen, btw). The main plot is lame as hell, featuring Selina's little sister (apperantly a former nun), preparing to fight a cat demon that's apperantly taken up host in Selina. (I'm presuming she made this up because she's crazy enough to kill a cat and a nun on the same page). The subplot, featuring Ivy and one of her subordinates at her new job, is only slightly more manageable.

So all in all, forgettable plot and forgettable art make for a forgettable fill-in on a forgettable title.

Story: 3
Art: 4
Overall: 3.5

PS: I find it funny that in three seperate titles that came out today, we had three instances of cat abuse and an instance of dog abuse. I'm pretty sure that this is the REAL New Apartheid at DC Comics. Someone inform Rich Johnston.

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Review by guitarsmashley

So I do have to apologize for this comic. It was not the comic I meant to pick since I had no knowledge till wednesday morning that it was a fill in issue and where the story was going. That said this was still an ok issue. It had flashes of DIni's notes specifically the IVY stuff. The Ivy side of the story if fully developed could have been entertaining. The Catwoman and her sister stuff pretty much sucked. This issue lacked the fun Dini brings to writing Harley and when he does she's one of the greatest characters in the book. She's tough, naive and damn funny. Please don't hold a crappy issue of a good book against it especially when it's an unannounced fill in. Unfortunately these fill ins in both of Dini's books could get me to drop both of them very quickly since I have no desire to read other writers. I get these books because I want to read Dini on Bat characters. It's really a shame because Dini has made this such a fun book that this not being his issue hurts it the most.

The art on this book was pretty meh as well. March though full of cheese cake is still a very good stylized art and I'm afraid he'll be snatched up and join the upper escehlon of DC artists soon enough. Paul Nyegun not so much.

For flashes of decency but disappointment over all I have to score this a 5.8

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Review by starlord

I didn't dislike this at much as everyone else has so far. It definatley didn't have the flair and style of Dini, but I do think it kept both stories going forward. The problem is, it didn't have the quality that this book usually produces.

Between the two stories, Catwoman was probably my favorite but only because it did propell her sisters story forward. (Red Hood Lost Days #1 is my pick) After what happened to Selina's sister her mental collapse is one of the best that has been created in years - organicly comic to the T.

Poison Ivy, on the other hand, I found to be a bit dull. Though it was probably the best characterization of any of the Sirens, there still wasn't a lot there to enjoy. I'm not sure where this plot is going, but it really doesn't seem to matter, either.

The art was less than okay, and this is where the biggest dissapointment lies. I hope when Dini comes back things will pick up again, either way, keep building on Selina's sister. I'm really falling in love with this character.

Harley was just SO off though that her character was not enjoyable at all. Love this series, but this issue was the first to be just so so. Still, I enjoyed it more than a lot of others that we've reviewed.

Story: 6.5
Art: 5
My Score: 6

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Review by Zero

I often wonder why DC have so many prosaic and bland artists and writers on their books. When I began reading comics Marvel always seemed to have someone interesting and different on every book while DC tended to be a sludge of middling similarity. This probably wasn't the case but it's an impression that stuck and one that came back today.

Peter Nguyen's art is DC house style dreck. It's got nothing fancy, no bells, no whistles and, aside from one panel of Catwoman winking that looks like it's from a better book, nothing that made me ever want to look at it again. Combined with a colour pallet that does its best to make any scraps of colour stand way too far out against the mood of the title and my eyes would thank DC not to put this chap on anything I'll be reading any time soon.

Tony Bedard isn't an awful writer though. He did some interesting things on Exiles and his work at Crossgen was good enough for him to escape that trainwreck. It's just that here he hasn't made anything stand out. Catwoman's sister seems like an interesting idea, but her madness isn't handled as anything special and she never really seems as on-edge as she could. The rest of the girls are so well known by now they don't really need any extra characterisation, but the flipside to that is when they act like generic cyphers for the plot it's very noticeable. Selina and Harley could've been anyone here and that's really a waste of this book's great cast.

Pretty poor show by DC slipping the readers a filler, when I'm sure most of their readers would prefer a skip month to forgettable missteps like this.

3

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Review by Flynn the Pirate

I've been a pretty big fan of this title for a while. It's fun. It's quirky. It's highlighting a trio of characters that are having largely non-Batman-related hijinks-adventures in and around Gotham City. What's not to love, right?

This issue, apparently.

I hated this. I really truly did. The story was hinged on whether or not you had read the Catwoman tie-in during Blackest Night. Since I didn't, I had almost no clue what was going on with Selina's sister, save for the little bit of exposition that Maggie herself provides. As with most cases of this, it really just hits the high points, which is to say it only gives a skeleton outline and the reader who didn't buy that issue is forced to either search Wikipedia for information or track down that issue.

Another extremely bothersome problem here. Last issue, Paul Dini started a story about Ivy starting a job at Star Labs. Yeah, that story's cliffhanger was picked up here, but it felt like it was picked up almost as an afterthought. Bedard just sort of throws it together in two or three pages, almost like commercial breaks from the story he wants to tell.

Which brings me to my biggest complaint about this issue. The story felt like such a radical departure from the direction the book has taken up to this point that I honestly just spent most of the last few pages saying to myself, "Really? I mean, seriously? This is lame." Again, maybe it's because I committed the unpardonable sin (no pun intended, given the story in this issue) of not reading the aforementioned Catwoman issue, but to go from dealing with bottom-tier Batman villains or former sidekicks to fighting against a demon-possessed former nun with a sword and wire-fu moves is kind of a major departure, I think.

At the end of the days, this was a stinker. Hopefully, Dini will be back next month to salvage this, but this was absolutely terrible.

2 out of 10 for it at least being readable.

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Review by doombug

So Tony Bedard seems to be the go to guy for fill ins on a lot of different books. When Mckeever had to leave birds of prey he stepped in and when the blackest night one shots needed to be wrote, there he was. But that is also a problem as to really get a full understanding of the events of this issue...you had to read the catwoman blackest night issue.

Also for a plot that was being heavily built up, the Ivy situation seemed to be handled way too easily by the character who suddenly goes full on villain again which I found a bit odd.

Even Harley seemed to suffer from a case of stupidity this issue over all. The only person showing any intelligence was S3elina's nutjob sister. Ivy almost threatening a child was unlike her as well, it just seemed like this was put together in a hurry and it shows.

Score: 6

I wish to have Paul Dini back now.

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Review by Eli Katz

I had trouble reading this. It's not my kind of book, and I don't care about the characters at all.

The art is not as bad as most of you say. It's competent and, in some places, rather good. But it is not consistent. The book starts off strong. The first splash page is detailed and dynamic, but halfway through, the backgrounds seem to disappear and the characters end up inhabiting a lot of empty space. The worst pages are the ones with the blood splatter panels. It's as though the artist was running out of time and decided ink sprays over a face would suffice as storytelling.

STORY: 3
ART: 6.5
OVERALL: 4.75

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Review by 48THRiLLS

I don't read Batman and I am not really familiar with these characters... aren't they villains? I was kinda lost while reading this so I can't really say that I enjoyed it. The art was Okay I guess. I really don't have much else to say about this book so my review is a shorty this week.

STORY - 4
ART - 6
OVERALL - 5

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Review by Spicy Dick

Short review from me too, by my own rules I have to give this a pretty low score. The first pages with Poison Ivy were kind of interesting except I felt like I'd seen it in one of the Batman the Animated Series episodes. Sadly, this shortly gave way to a pretty drab Catwoman story that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to get through. This is the sort of thing that DC puts out that I can't believe people are willingly buying.

3.5

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Review by amlah6

So what's up with this book? Is it supposed to replace Catwoman or something? Honestly a book featuring Batman's Bad Grrls rogues isn't something that I have any interest in at all and with this issue featuring surprise fill-in creators let's just say my expectations were low.

I really don't have much to say about this comic. The characters were bland except for the crazy cat killing (2 phar DC! 2 phar!) sister. The Poison Ivy scenes didn't give me enough background information to make me care what was going on. The Catwoman stuff was okay, but certainly didn't lay enough of a foundation to make me want to come back for more.

The art here is ugly. Like in an embarrassing way it's ugly. From a storytelling perspective it's adequate, but there are pages and panels that just shouldn't be considered acceptable in a DC comic.

Story: 4
Art: 2
Overall: 3

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Review by Jude Terror

I liked this book. I've been interested in the concept for a while, so I was happy to have a chance to review it. Since I hadn't checked it out yet, the concept of three female bat-villains living together and having little adventures was still novel for me, which helped in overpowering the mundane plot. There were aspects of the story that I liked, of course. The story with Catwoman's sister was amusing, both in her psychotic belief that anyone who owns a cat worships some kind of cat demon that controls her sister, and in the cooler transformation into some kind of dark, avenging angel. Didn't know what was going on really with the Poison Ivy story.

The art was okay in this. Competent, but nothing special, as is sometimes typical of DC.

Overall, this book didn't turn me off of the concept that I've been interested. If anything, the mediocrity of this issue made me hunger for a more well-done version of the concept, so I picked up a bunch of back-issues which I'll be reading later. So I guess, in a weird way, the pick succeeded this week.

Story: 5
Art: 5
Overall: 5
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That gives Gotham City Sirens #12 a very generous group score of 4.28. Dear DC, we would like our $35.88 back now please. In the future, let us know when the solicited creative team has bailed out ahead of time.

For more Yoni grovelling, join us in this week's thread found in the News Stand forum where you are invited to post your own review!
Comment or post your own review!
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starlord has the pick for next week and if you read his review you already know he has selected Red Hood: Lost Days #1 published by DC Comics. Look for the new thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning.

0602-redhood_cover.jpgRed Hood: Lost Days #1

Written by JUDD WINICK
Art by PABLO RAIMONDI

Judd Winick (BATMAN: UNDER THE HOOD) returns to write the adventures of Jason Todd in this special 6-part epic exploring the lost days of this misunderstood character. Learn what secret events led Jason on his eventual path of death and destruction. Guest-starring Ra's al Ghul and Talia with amazing artwork by Pablo Raimondi (BATTLE FOR THE COWL: THE UNDERGROUND, X-Factor).

Batman | 32pg. | Color | $2.99 US

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