A throwback to '70s and '80s spacefaring sci-fi, "George Perez's Sirens" #2 is filled from cover to cover with lots of character and plot development, cramming more into its 22 pages than some books do in 22 issues. Some of it is inelegant but it gets the job done with humor and superhero posturing. A comic book filled almost exclusively with women, most of whom are not impossibly dressed, it is almost there. However -- and I cannot believe I'm about to say this about a book drawn by George Perez -- some clunky page layouts and character perspectives take away from the story, which is interesting but ultimately doesn't move forward very much for as much that is packed in to these pages.
This is not the George Perez of the '80s, or even the George Perez of the late-'90s and early '00s. Gone are many of the dynamic poses and innovative page designs that made him a legend of the industry. He still has a few tricks up his sleeve -- I particularly enjoyed how he displays telepathic communication via small talking head bubbles superimposed over the main action, and the split screen page where Kage enters her shadow mode in both the present and the flashback. Large scale action, like a dinosaur-like monster being ripped in twain, is relegated to far smaller panels than the action justifies. There's just so much happening in each panel, and then on each page, that nothing really gets a chance to stretch itself out. His depiction of Interface's virtual reality is kind of ridiculous, depicted as a bunch of red nets and circles that distract from the action on the page. There are some odd choices in perspective, making characters seem like action figure versions of themselves, particularly when the Sirens reveal their ready-for-battle wear.Â
The story is solid, and though it seems to take place over the course of about 10 minutes, it packs a lot into that time. Perez takes us back to each of Kage and Skywire's pasts, revealing their power over the course of the centuries. This cliffhanger is a bit odd and suffers from the same sort of panel cramming that plagues other portions of the comic. There is some fun tongue-in-cheek commentary in the issue, especially in the beginning, like her highness loving her own "high heels totally inappropriate for combat."
Leonardo Paciarotti creates an odd, muddied palate across the issue. His colors appear smudged and muted in some places, but crisp and well-defined in others. It definitely hurts the art in some places, particularly the Jack the Ripper sequence in Skywire's past. His attempts at giving a soft glow to many character's faces winds up looking like white, unfinished spots.
Though problematic, there is plenty to enjoy with this issue, and old-school George Perez fans should be right at home with the work being done here. It's still a George Perez book. It just feels like a late-period Rolling Stones jam, where you know it's them and you appreciate that they are still performing, but nothing they create now can hold a candle to the previous work.