Gotham City Sirens, Vol. 2: Songs of the Sirens
written by Paul Dini and Tony Bedard
The concept of Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn deciding to live together under one roof sounds like it might work as half a season of MTV’s The Real World reality show. The idea, kind of a reverse-Birds of Prey idea, features these three villains teaming up for support, as opposed to Oracle-organized heroes who band together to fight crime. Understandably, the ladies never refer to themselves as “Sirens”—which is nice. I don’t think referring to themselves as a team unit would have been realistic. Or as realistic as a trade collection about a plant lady and two women dressed up as a cat and a clown could be, respectively.
This collection, the second volume, picks up as the DC universe was facing the Blackest Night event. An old Batman villain, Black Mask, had been murdered by Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, after her brother-in-law had been savagely murdered by the fiend and her sister had been forced to watch. Resurrected by a black power ring, Black Mask initially targets Selina while she’s prowling the rooftops and thieving away, hoping to take advantage of the disaster-like situation. After a short battle, he realizes that the best way to cause Selina pain is to go after her estranged sister, who has since been committed, and whom Selina never really visits.
Quinn and Ivy arrive on the scene to help her. The trio eventually manage to stop Black Mask, but Selina’s sister runs off for parts unknown. She eventually bonds with some sort of “angel”-like being, who grants her superhuman powers. Calling herself “Sister Zero” after Harley makes fun of her, she dedicates herself to destroying the “demon” inside her sister Selina: a demon she believes to be Catwoman. Other stories include the ladies partnering up with Edward Nygma, the reformed Riddler, and a brief investigation into disappearing animals around their neighborhood. Harley and Selina also save Poison Ivy from a copycat plant killer.
The real strength of this collection is the characterization. Paul Dini wrote each of these characters during his stint co-creating and writing Batman: The Animated Series. He is, in fact, the creator of Harley Quinn as a character and it shows: She’s actually quite hilarious here. His arc with Poison Ivy is interesting. She worries she is becoming more plant than human, and eventually takes a job at S.T.A.R. labs in order to resume her research interests into botany. This unfortunately often separates her from Selina and Harley, but creates an interesting dynamic between those two characters. Tony Bedard is also credited as writing some issues.
Although illustrated by various artists, the essence of each character is captured completely from issue to issue. A recommended read for any teen interested in supporting Batman characters, and a great collection to give to a young girl looking for a female-centric superhero book.