Sirens of the City #1 is published by BOOM! Studios and written by Joanne Starer. Illustrations are by Khary Randolph and letters by Andworld Design. Main cover art (left) is also by Randolph.
You can grab your copy of Sirens of the City #1 now, available in print and on digital platforms where all good comic books are sold.
New York City. 1980s. Runaway teen Layla struggles to survive the mean streets, far from home. Meanwhile, every supernatural creature–from sirens to incubi–descend upon the city…all in vying for control of Layla and the pregnancy she never wanted.
Time for a new limited-series launch from BOOM! Studios. Sirens of the City is a gritty, urban supernatural drama which hails from writer Joanne Starer and illustrator Khary Randolph. The series debut chapter focusses on Layla, a runaway teenager who is dealing with a multitude of life-changing issues when she gets caught up in some high-concept shenanigans in 1980s New York City.
Right out of the gate readers will be captivated by Randolph’s incredible artwork. The design work alone is Eisner-worthy. Recreating the 1980s punk aesthetic perfectly. Every denim vest, metallic stud and crazy haircut is exquisitely placed. Whilst the book starts out in the more spacious suburbs it soon moves to the city which, even in black and white, feels grimy, smokey and claustrophobic. You’re instantly transported back to the 80s with an almost palpable taste of the city in your mouth, it’s incredible how atmospheric Sirens of the City is.
What’s also impressive is Randolph’s use of colour. Or perhaps that should be lack of colour. Much of the book is black and white. Colour is used sparingly to accept key moments and details throughout. The use of blues and reds helps to define certain aspects of the story. For instance Layla’s blue accents signify her place as one of the titular sirens whilst rival species reflect the more blood-like shade of red. Us mere humans so far appear to be purely black and white. Whilst none of this is groundbreaking it’s certainly unique to most other books out there right now.
Look beyond the artwork and Starer has one heck of a story waiting to grab you with both hands. After reading the synopsis I had anticipated plenty of supernatural world building. What I hadn’t anticipated was a politically charged opening scene which (sadly) still rings incredibly true today. The 1980s setting allows Starer the chance to tackle several difficult topics, abortion and teen pregnancy to name but two, against the backdrop of this gritty cityscape and it’s lively inhabitants.
The world building itself is satisfying, there’s more than enough intrigue to come back for issue #2. At the same time I don’t feel like issue #1 has given away too much in a vain hope to reach an audience. Starer is drip feeding us tidbits about the lore in this version of NYC and counter-balancing it with enough character to make it a delightful meal to digest.
As for Layla, she’s a complex and well constructed lead. There’s some signposting to where the story is going to lead but plenty of room for misdirection and potential twists. She exhibits the typically melodramatic teenage emotions but there’s a strength to her which echoes many of comics legendary female leads. I look forward to spending more time with her in the coming months.
Sirens of the City #1 is a must-read, right out of the gate this first issue is ticking all the boxes for a blockbuster debut. It’s tantalising, atmospheric and exciting. I can’t wait for more.
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