George Pérez is well known as a writer and artist who manages to treat his female characters as figures whose actions and decision influence and affect the narrative. This shouldn’t be a fact that gets noteworthy praise, but sadly, for every Greg Rucka or Kieron Gillen there are dozens of creators who simply don’t get it. Women are window dressings, they’re prizes to be won, etc.
On that note, hearing Pérez was creating his own team of space-faring, ass-kicking women is definitely noteworthy. With Pérez working on his own series, unrestricted by a character’s past or demands from an overbearing publisher, Sirens could be the purest form of what he considers the ultimate ‘strong female character.’
Unfortunately, introducing readers to a team of space-faring, ass-kicking women could have been achieved in a far more coherent fashion that what we get in Sirens #1. The twisting, convoluted narrative in Sirens is a disservice to what could be a really interesting premise. That is, if I’m understanding it all correctly.
At the center of this issue is a jailbreak to release the leader of the Sirens, a woman referred to by many as simply, Highness. This story is then broken up by tangents taking us to Ancient Rome to witness a fearsome woman gladiator, a formidable schoolmarm in mid-19th century American frontier, and a mysterious seer who dupes a couple of Vikings in to helping her find a dragon. All of these women are, presumably, the Sirens and they and others are united by the issue’s end. However, for what purpose remains unclear.
Yet, its rather confusing presentation aside, what Pérez is establishing looks to be a fun, wild ride with a group interesting and varied women collected from different periods of Earth’s history. There are hints these women have worked together before, which begs the question of whether they were simply hiding in these different time periods or if these Sirens are continually reincarnated and called upon when needed? It’s not clear, but whatever their connection we’re left only wanting to see what they can do together.
When sense can be made of what’s happening on the page, Sirens is excellent. The action beats are fantastic and exciting; very reminiscent of a 1970s space adventure full of energy blasters and spandex. And while the intersecting tales can be hard to sift through initially, there is payoff if you stick it through. Not necessarily everything is apparent come issue’s end, but all those different threads begin to come together and form an intriguing story as a whole.
On top of writing, Pérez is also handling the art for Sirens. As expected, his artwork is just as complicated as the narrative. The detail on each page is impressive, giving readers a lot of visual information to pour over. The transitions between this issue’s intersecting tales are smooth, which is good since the constant back and forth is already jarring.
And though admittedly, Pérez’s art style is not a favorite of mine (for example, I much preferred this variant cover from Cameron Stewart and Matthew Wilson), I do appreciate his understanding of human anatomy. For a comic comprised almost entirely of women, and one containing scene of a naked woman in chains, never once are his characters depicted in a gross, objectifying manner. Seriously, a scene of torture and defilement is actually handled with a touch of class.
It’s impressive to say the least, and only yet another sign that to Pérez women aren’t objects, they’re people. Those people can be sexy, they can be scantily clad, and even at times depicted under duress, but they don’t need to only serve the audience’s fantasies without furthering the plot.
Sirens is brimming with potential, that much is clear. What isn’t so clear is precisely who these women are and why they need to band together. However, as long as further explanation comes quickly, Sirens looks to be slam-bang adventure full of brash beauties ready to raise hell.