Created By: Joanne Starer & Khary Randolph
Written By: Joanne Starer
Art By: Khary Randolph
Lettered By: AndWorld Designs
Published By: BOOM! Studios
“Sirens of the City” started on Glass Eye Studios’ Substack before being published by BOOM! Studios. The dark urban fantasy takes place in 1980s NYC and is the creation of writer Joanne Starer (The Gimmick) and artist Khary Randolph (Excellence). The first issue garnered a reprint in an homage to the iconic 80s film “The Breakfast Club.” Let’s get on with issue 2 to see how our stories have continued.
Last we saw, NYC’s skyline was filled with the creatures of the night, and Layla left a gathering with Davi in tow. As we open up on issue 2, Davi shows Layla a place she can stay, and Rome is in search of the expected Mother. We find out more about the Uncanny and a prophecy about the yet-born child of Layla and Rome. Marisol finds out about Rome’s true identity and decides to help with finding Layla. But she also finds out that Layla has no idea of her true nature. Marisol proceeds to tell Layla the horrible history between the Sirens and the Incubi. Afterward, Marisol takes the still-pregnant teen to seek counsel with Marisol’s Mother. Here, she’s told of the prophecy and the importance of this unborn child. After this meeting, we go back to Rome and get some very disturbing news.
Starer has continued to build upon an already stacked world. In this second issue, we find out that this group of beings is called “The Uncanny” and more about their hierarchy. Layla is now pitted as a pawn of sorts, with her unborn child being touted as a weapon. The central theme of this comic is a woman’s right to choose, but it’s severely taken away in this culture of The Uncanny.
Again, to frame such an important issue in the window dressing of a dark, urban fantasy comic is a stroke of brilliance. Layla’s agency is taken away even more by those whom she is meant to trust. In the human world, she’s told what to do with her body. In the Uncanny world, she’s told what to do with her body and taken against her will by her own people, unbeknownst to Marisol. Themes that play with even higher stakes in this comic.
Khary Randolph is most definitely in his element with Sirens of the City. One of the things I always enjoy about Randolph’s art in this book is the use of color. In this issue, we get to see splashes of green. I think the colors either represent certain factions or certain creatures. It’s such a vibrant nuance and used to such specificity. He also put in another great cameo from one of my favorite movies. It’s a pleasure to reread books Randolph has worked on to pick out these nods. I get the feeling that he is having so much fun with these characters, and that makes it even more fun to read.
One thing that hits me is the combination of social issues in Sires of the City. You see the issues of homelessness, poverty, abortion, body autonomy, and class systems. It’s a balance that Joanne keeps perfectly aligned while still writing about incubi, sirens, vampires, lycans, and so forth.
For me, I’m invested on a few different levels. I wonder what Rome’s true intentions will be. Will Marisol help her new bestie, how does Davi fit into this wondrous world, and will Layla finally get to take control of her life and body? I implore you to read along because the ride is only going to get wilder.
Antonio Pomares is an Afro-Latinx show host/geek culture personality. Currently, he hosts “The Hungry Bleek Show”. An aspiring “geek polymath”, Pomares has an open mind to all of geek culture. Pomares is an avid T-shirt and coffee mug collector.