Harley Quinn's Haven: News and Goss! (hqhaven) wrote,
Harley Quinn's Haven: News and Goss!
hqhaven

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Gotham City Sirens: First Thoughts

Yes. Gotham City Sirens is OUT.

For all who care... here are my thoughts. Consider them spoilery so don't click unless you've already read it (or don't care!):


The Story
I gotta be honest: I was very anxious about this book. We all know we can pretty much trust Dini when it comes to the Batverse, but you know me and Harley we're like THIS and it's been so long for her and the Batbooks are in such a mess and, and, and... I was anxious. But I was also very hopeful.

So I'm going cautiously yet open-mindedly through the first few pages and I'm all yeah, you know, so far it's fun, interesting, nice setup with good insight into Selina's head. Then Ivy arrives and I'm all a bit, whoah this feels a bit out-of-character until HOLY EXPOSITION BATMAN!
Then... I turn the page. And there's Eddie. Drugged up. With Ivy talking about how much nicer he is that way.

And all my fears are allayed. Just like that.

That's where the book starts to really pick up and that scene, combined with Harley's cheerful nonchalance to drugged-up Eddie, just gave me a good feeling about the whole book.

That's not to say this was a perfect first issue. The scene with Zatanna felt forced and Zatanna herself is always a bit Mary Sue-ish when Dini writes her, plus HOLY EXPOSITION BATMAN - Ivy's delightfully wicked behaviour in that scene saved it though. The amount of exposition throughout the issue made it seem a bit forced and rushed at time, but it made up for it with enough beautiful, deliciously in-character moments that were too gleeful for words. It felt like Dini was trying to draw all the messy threads together in one big go so he could get stuck into actual stories - afterall, Bonecrusher was the obviously deliberate lame wannabe villain plot device to facilitate them all hooking up - which is fine. His purpose was served and now everything is explained and setup, we can get onto the REALLY good stuff! :D

The three leading ladies are dynamic and their chemistry is fabulous. I will feel a lot better when the exposition stops, but on the whole I am very happy so far and I think/hope it's going to be a great title. :D Which is WONDERFUL.



On Harley
Loving her, of course. God, it really makes a huge difference to have someone who really understands her write her. It just lifts her off the page.
I love how much of her we're seeing in this one issue already: playfulness, genuine disingenuousness, enthusiasm and flightiness - right alongside her callousness, canniness and manipulativeness. She was definitely playing up the bimbo schtick (her scene alone with Ivy was telling - both how her manner changed and how Ivy spoke to her) which I love to see her do. She's a beautiful bimbo, is our Harley, and thoroughly genuine about it - but she knows how to work it to her advantage - or just to her amusement - too.
Harley is a character who craves companionship and so now Holly is gone she went out in search of company. That's Harley all over. Note, however, she did not pursue Holly. If there were any real weight to the "rumours" about them, she would not have gone in search of her one true bestie - Ivy. But that's the thing about Harley - her only one true one true is Mistah J. He's the only one she would really and truly pursue and when he's not around she is fairly flighty about who she seeks out for companionship. This situation between Holly and Ivy is an example. If she and Holly had really been involved, she would've gone after her - we all know how Harley loves.
Of course, if Holly comes back into the picture, Harley will doubtless be ecstatic to see her. But she's like that.
And it's also really nice and heartwarming and reassuring to see that reaffirmation of her undyng love for the Joker. Yes, JxH fans, rejoice. It's right in there and is absolutely gorgeous. What I love even more is how Selina and Ivy just don't even question that she's still enamoured of him - her whole 'totally over him' thing isn't fooling anyone, never has and never will. And I really think that this whole 'no longer an item' thing is something the Joker just isn't even aware of and if anyone said it to him he'd be like: "don't be ridiculous!". They've always spent significant parts of their relationship apart due to incarceration or such - it's simply a normal pattern. But Harley will keep up the pretence while she feels she has to. Something that also occured to me whilst reading this - given the conflict Joker has himself in the relationship, approaching Harley when she has something he can use - like money - provides a very easy cover for him. It gives him a 'reason' outsiders can peg onto and dismiss as to why he wants Harley back, so the real reason - that he just wants her back - is kept hidden. I think even from himself. I think Harley is aware of this on some level, and facilitates it as well.
I loved Bonecrusher's line about being the only guy with the balls to attack the Joker's girl - that comment works in two glorious, fabulous ways: 1. Nobody messes with the Joker's girl but the Joker: hurt his baby and you will regret it and, even beter, 2. THIS IS THE JOKER'S GIRL. THE JOKER'S. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW CRAZY SHE MUST BE? AND YOU'RE ATTACKING HER???
<3
Loving it!!! It's at once a testament to Harley's own fabulousness and to their relationship.

I love seeing more of her 'big little girl' nature come out. It's always been a facet of her but seeing it come out more to the fore is a wonderful thing, no less because I myself am a big little girl and it's really nice to see it being done in a genuine, unforced, uncreepy, un-tryhard, uncontrived and unsexual way. That's really what being a BLG is all about and I think Harley is this way because her mental age has regressed in her insanity so that hyper-sexual faux-goth-lolita thing just ISN'T. HARLEY. And usually that's how BLGs are depicted. Also, on a purely fangeek note, I always get a thrill when Harley reacts to something exactly as I would/do. :) But then, the commonality has always been a big part of why I love her.
But she's still dangerous and crazy and sneaky and cunning and amoral, just as she should be. Just as a kid can be. ;)



The Art
Yarg. It's incredibly disappointing and nowhere near a match to Dini's wonderful dialogue and action.
Apart from the fact his sense of anatomy is skewed, his proportion is way off and his character designs or alterations leave a lot to be desired (WHAT'S WITH GIVING SELINA'S AND HARLEY'S COSTUMES HIGH HEELS! THEY DON'T NEED THEM!!!!!!), the action scenes which should be thrilling and exciting are static and flat. The subtler action is, well, utterly nondescript and at times I had to rely on the dialogue to figure out what was actually happening the panels were so badly depicted.
That said - there are panels I like or think are quite lovely.
I personally feel the character he does the worst is Harley. If the script specified a schoolgirl look, that Leg Avenue knock-off is far off the money in terms of evoking Harley's spirit. It's too pedestrian and too cliche. Hell put her in a plaid skirt and knee-high white socks and you could've evoked the schoolgirl thing without being so... serious about it. C'mon like Harley would do schoolgirl without a sense of irony! Also, too messy and too jumbled together. Harley has never been subtle or modest in her style, but she is always neat and perfect. The patterned socks are too busy with the plaid skirt and the blouse isn't tucked in. NO. BAD.
He totally didn't make enough of her returning from shopping - OMG I can tell you right now Harley would've been LADEN with colourful, over-stuffed bags and boxes, dripping with bits of feathers and frippery. And that final panel? She should've had a nasty,gleeful smile on her face. Or, if she really had to be serious, that flat, vaguely vexed look did not empathise her sudden malice - she's INSANE. It's not a good contrast to Ivy's centre-stage ethereal creepiness either - she just looks kinda in the way and she should be really leaning over Ivy's shoulder and looking dangerous and ready to play.

I feel a bit mean ripping on March like this. I feel like there's potential in there, but on the whole I'm just disappointed cos I'd love this book to be the WHOLE package and he just simply doesn't have dynamic or vibrant enough style to bring the story out to its best. But... I hope he does improve and when/if he does, I'll be the first one cheering him on.


Overall? I'm VERY happy and greatly, greatly looking forward to the next issue... :D
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  • 13 comments
Well, it sure sounds like you had mixed feelings on this book, but you are overall happy with the end product. I can understand you being pleased with the writing as Dini is the original Harley scribe from his days of BTAS (along with Bruce Timm).

I agree with you on the art work, wholeheartedly. It seems that since Batman Begins, and more so since the Dark Knight, the artists in the DC Batverse are trying to much to Nolanise the characters. Its like they want to get away from a comic/cartoon look and go for a realism that just doesn't work in a Universe where the main protagonists dress in outrageous and vibrant costumes. Its the same over in Detective Comics with Batwoman. The art over there has a very film noir look about it similar to the Thrill Killer books a few years back. I long for the basic art of the old Batman Advebntures series, like I grew up with in the sixties. Take the cover art of this book for instance. Harleys cowl is limpish and you could bounce a twenty cent piece off that butt. It looks great, but just doesn't fit with this character IMHO.

Thanks for the review and look forward to seeing what is next for these three Gotham Gals.
Agreed! I have spoken before about how drawing these three gals differently is a fabulous way to evoke their personalities and March just doesn't seem to "get" Harley. I talk about it here. Harley should be more youthful, athletic but baby-soft, and very very perky!!
Okay, I didn't read the wholllle thing, but I read up to here: "The three leading ladies are dynamic and their chemistry is fabulous. I will feel a lot better when the exposition stops, but on the whole I am very happy so far and I think/hope it's going to be a great title. :D Which is WONDERFUL."

And I'm happy. 8D I'm going to go out and buy it today. So excited!
How did you enjoy it? :D
I actually haven't gotten the chance to even buy it, yet! The store I checked didn't have it, so I've gotta check somewhere else now.
Hee! I've been waiting to read your thoughts since I finished it! You express everything much more eloquently than I can. Especially what you said about the "big little girl" thing. YESYESYES.

Needless to say, I'm thrilled and next month can't get here fast enough.
I'm waiting for this one to arrive in the mail. (Darn you, lack of local comic-book shops.) I've been nervous about it, especially since 'Streets of Gotham' has been so widely reported to be something of a disappointment. You've really kind of put my concerns to rest. I think this is- correct me if I'm wrong- the first time we'll have an entire series w/ lots of Harley as written by someone who really knows the character. That's exciting in its own right, but also because it might help other writers figure her out. And I'm dorking out over the JxH stuff. I love Bonecrusher's boast because it really underlines the fact that everybody, even "lame wannabe villains", knows that Harley is the Joker's lady. The Joker's down for a year, right? That's only 12 issues of this comic... *squees while thinking of the potential...*

Harley's outfit- the school girl one- looks like it's from Hot Topic (there's nothing lolita about it, except maybe the socks- I can see a punk loli wearing them) and I've been dreading the notion that maybe these are her new civvies. I've been paranoid that they've been keeping her out of her costume to underline this whole "over the Joker" thing.

I'm not really familiar w/ March's history as a comic-book artist. I seem to recall that a lot of people liked his work for 'Joker's Asylum', but that was one story. Maybe he's not entirely used to cranking out pages like he'll have to do for a monthly series? I could be totally wrong about that.
I just finished the comic about half an hour ago and I was laughing by the third page. Even if Bonecrusher was a plot device, he was a delightful one. The part with him and the Riddler ('You're going to kick my ass, aren't you?') had my rolling.

The girls are great too of course. Harley's "I'm over him" bit and "Ooh! And a toy room?!" were just adorable.

The art didn't bother me too much, except for Harley. Something about her seemed too...something or other.
I do like how March draws Ivy's face though. The close ups of her (in this and 'Joker's Asylum') are a couple of issues away from being certified brilliant. But that may just be me.

Deleted comment

sure thang! come ove about 9 or so and that should be plenty of time.

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zhinxy

July 2 2009, 17:41:48 UTC 9 years ago Edited:  July 2 2009, 17:42:06 UTC

drudged by Ivy

Pardon me, but that's actually one of the best batverse-related typos (Or you did it intentionally, still awesome!) ever, "drudged by Ivy"

When you're drugged by Ivy you ARE a drudge.

FABULOUS!
I agree with you 100%. The story and characterization were both very enjoyable but the artwork was just a turnoff for me...
I second charliexclaire.

Very nice, in-depth review. I enjoyed reading it! :D

hola

Anonymous

November 5 2009, 09:25:41 UTC 9 years ago

tal vez no entiendan el español pero yo tradusco su pagina para poder saber lo que dice ....
solo queria felicitarlos por el gran trabajo que estan haciendo e esta pagina y sobre todo por que ahi un espacio para la tristeza de algunos fanaticos por la perdida heath ledger el cual era un gran actor espero puedan leer mi mensaje que esten bien adios ...

pd: me llamo angela y soy de chile