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Sirens #1 is Imaginative and Sometimes Overindulgent

Sirens #1 is Imaginative and Sometimes Overindulgent

STK649666Sirens #1
Written and drawn by George Perez
Colors by Leonardo Paciarotti
Published by BOOM! Studios

One of my favorite things about George Perez as an artist other than the consistent quality of his lines is his ability to draw group shots where all the characters have a unique face, body shape, and usually costume. This is why he was the king of team books, especially New Teen Titans and Avengers. He also drew beautiful female characters with both beauty and power (especially Wonder Woman and Scarlet Witch), but not as sex objects. In Sirens #1, he does much of the same with the Sirens’ all female, time-spanning lineup with characters from different ethnicities, time periods, and having different values. Perez uses the different time periods to show how the treatment of women has improved and how sexism has endured even in a sci-fi setting. Perez’s technical work, especially his figure work and use of shadow, is nearly flawless, but his storytelling suffers with cramped panels and blocks and blocks of text. He fits two or three issues of story into a single comic, which gives the comic value. However, the pacing is too frantic at times, and readers could use more time with certain characters. However, when Perez lets the pages breathe, there are some well-developed characters in the mix.

Even if the sci-fi/futuristic sequences are a little too heavy on the Star Trek:TNG-style technobabble and light on a potentially racial tension between two alien races, Perez has a good handle on character’s voices from different eras. Some highlights were a veteran time traveler and magician, who is also a senior citizen and very cunning, and a  school teacher, who also moonlights as the ray gun wielding protector of an Arizona frontier town. Sirens #1 also shows that Perez’s imagination is basically limitless in both writing and drawing. The characters, ideas, places, and technology he comes up in this issue could fill an entire miniseries. He flexes his muscles switching from a cave to a spaceship to the Colosseum in seemingly a blink of an eye with dinosaurs, cool computers, and other set dressing on display along the way. And the unique female protagonists have agency and create the story’s action. However, Sirens #1 gets into problematic areas with a character who is a “legendary” prostitute from the future and is introduced bound and gagged. She gets her comeuppance, but some readers may be uncomfortable with how she is portrayed. The frenetic pace of the comic and the huge cast of characters introduced in a mere 22 story pages unfortunately don’t allow this character to be explored in more detail.

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After playing in other peoples’ (Marvel and DC) sandboxes for four decades, Perez is finally  free to create new worlds and characters. Sirens #1 has an epic scope, and colorist Leonardo Paciarotti subtly switches color tones to show the shifts in time and space. Perez also leaves little visual transitions between eras that are quite clever, like the Colosseum in Rome being replaced with a drawing of a gladiator arena on a chalk board. His panels are crammed full with text, but his characters and settings  meld the science fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy in what is presumably a superhero team comic. (Perez eschews most cliches, especially fighting and teaming up.) Overindulgent at times, Sirens #1, at its best, is a wonderful product of the imagination of a comics legend.