Scattered across time and space, the legendary team of women known as the Sirens have mostly forgotten who they are. After suffering defeat at the hands of a powerful foe, the Sirens have disbanded and are living out their days in various points of history. When an intergalactic force begins enslaving planets left and right, the team must reunite to save the galaxy. But first they have to remember who they are! And how can the Sirens save the galaxy when everyone else remembers them as villains?
The thing about Sirens is that I really wanted to like it. Normally, I would adore a collection of strong, powerful women teaming up in a world-saving capacity (all of whom are a little flawed, making the Sirens feel a lot like the Rat Queens). Unfortunately, the story was a bit too disjointed for me, diving in right away with little-to-no setup or explanation, and leaving the reader playing catch-up to figure out who everyone is and what’s going on. This method of storytelling works sometimes and is frustrating other times, depending on how quickly the reader gets to figure out what’s going on. In Sirens, it takes way too long for any sort of explanation, and by the time it came, I had lost interest in the story. If this were a later volume in an ongoing series, jumping into the middle of the story would make more sense, as readers would likely have read previous volumes. Sirens, however, is a stand-alone title and is not picking up on events of a previous volume, and that’s why the decision to start in media res did not work for me as a reader.
It’s important for me to differentiate the writing (the actual words and how they’re used) from the story (the overall plot) because the writing is good. This is a book that uses just character speech and art to tell the story, and all of the character speech was well done. Pérez really nails the dialogue. The Sirens are smart, sassy, and capable, the villains are treacherous and cunning, and all of that came through clearly in the writing. If the organization of the plot elements had been different, the strong writing would have made this book more enjoyable.
I know some comics readers who are willing to overlook a bad story if the art is well done, and if I were such a reader, Sirens would still have been worth my time. Pérez is something of a legend in the world of comics, and that comes through in his artwork for this book. From the very first panel, the images grab you. Everything is so detailed and intricate; your eyes can’t just skim the art. You really have to take time with each panel to drink it in. The style feels like something from the 1980s, and the color palette strongly contributes to that with bright, bold colors and strong contrast. The characters and foreground images really pop against the background as a result, and I enjoyed that aspect of the art. Though the artwork is gorgeous, I was frustrated that there isn’t more diversity among the characters. Many of the Sirens look similar, which caused me some confusion while I was reading (especially when there were so many Sirens to keep straight). The women are also more sexualized in their depictions than I would have liked; in a few instances this felt intentional, as if they were using their appeal on purpose within the narrative, but most of the time it felt gratuitous.
I could not locate a publisher age rating for Sirens, but I would shelve this with my adult graphic novels. The book contains some language and suggestive material and a fair amount of violence. Older teen readers who are interested in fantasy or sci-fi and who are mature enough for minor adult content would likely enjoy this book too.
George Pérez’s Sirens
by George Pérez
Art by George Pérez
Boom! Studios, 2018