“George Perez’s Sirens” #1 covers a lot of ground in a most ambitious manner, jumping from 1104 A.D. Iceland to outer space to 100 A.D. Rome and back to Earth for stops in 1884 Arizona and 1949 Alabama before heading out into space again. Along the way, Perez fills the pages with expository dialog and detailed drawings, packing as much as possible into a twenty-two page comic book.
Ed Dukeshire handles the lettering for this comic book and must be working closely with Perez to avoid covering the artist’s drawings with the substantial amount of word balloons contained in “Sirens” #1. Covering so much ground, introducing so many characters and traversing so much time, Perez gives readers a very dense story that walks a very fine line towards being over-written. The basic gist is that a threat looms on the horizon requiring a band of defenders to be reunited across time and space. Several of characters are given adequate space here for backstories and figurative connective tissue, while the grander universe is constructed around them.
From Vikings to dragons, alien Draggo and Terran horses to the Coliseum, an Old West classroom and beyond into the depths of space, Perez proves he still has the chops to draw anything and everything thrown at him. Pulling double duty as writer, he clearly has no shortage of ideas to transcribe through his artwork. The cast is deep and rich, with many Sirens introduced — Agonia, Highness, Fanisha, Sherita and Bishop are each given space, while other members of the Sirens are simply glimpsed or zip past. Perez presents a variety of body types and facial constructions, providing readers with distinguishing features to identify the sprawling cast that only continues to grow through the progression of “Sirens” #1. Leonardo Paciarotti’s colors are uncommon for Perez’s work, but given the more fantasy and science-fiction-based nature of this story, they are perhaps more appropriate than the traditional bold coloring of superhero comics. Paciarotti uses painterly strokes and watercolor-like chunks of thick, rich hues to convey texture and temperature. It’s a nice departure from over-rendered, hyper-texturized patterns that are so prevalent in coloring nowadays, but it still has a little ways to go to completely congeal with Perez’s art.
This comic book is so darn dense, almost overwhelmingly so, but when readers take a moment to take stock of the tale unfolding in the pages of “Sirens” #1, they’ll realize that Perez is not simply building a world, he’s cataloging it and cross-referencing it. Clearly, Perez has been working on this concept for some time. In packing so very much into the twenty-two pages of this series’ debut issue, it is also obvious that Perez has more story to tell and enjoys playing with these characters and this universe.
Now that the toys are out, it’s time for Perez to dazzle the readers. There are plenty of players in this drama, certainly every reader can find someone to relate to, cheer for or rally behind. George Perez is one of the greatest, most prolific creators in modern comics and now he finally has a chance to tell a story that is his from top to bottom. He’s brought ideas, energy and enthusiasm, now he just needs to throttle back a bit as he shares those with readers, allowing them to absorb all of that energy and enthusiasm.