Gotham is perhaps one of the most crime-ridden cities in the DC universe. Between the perverts that frequent the slums all the way through to the powerful criminals that terrorise the city, a girl has got to take care of herself in that world. But for these Gotham City Sirens, being so powerful and wonderfully wicked isn’t always easy.
In the wake of the announcement of the Gotham City Sirens movie directed by David Ayer, we take a closer look at the origins of Poison Ivy, Catwoman and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
Written by Mari Sciarappa
Name: Pamela Isley
Occupation: Eco-terrorist, seductress
Appearance: Green eyes; auburn hair
Abilities: Ivy can produce “man-maddening” pheromones and floral toxins and uses this technique to get her way, form robbing banks to getting out of trouble with the law. She also has very powerful plants that can cause great destruction. Mental control of plants.
Base: Gotham City
Creators: Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff
All Dr Pamela Isley ever wanted was the save the world. As a talented Botanist, she worked tirelessly to save the environment and soon began working for an equally talented Dr Jason Woodrue at a lab in which the two spend countless hours developing serums that could assist them in their efforts. Dr Woodrue, however, was dangerously unbalanced and began testing his serums not only on plants but on himself as well. In one experiment that went wrong, Dr Woodrue became Floronic Man and his level of insanity increased exponentially. He then decided it was time to experiment on someone else – Dr Isley – in an attempt to create a human/plant hybrid like himself.
It worked, but not quite as he’d intended. Isley’s skin began to take on a green pigmentation, her blood was replaced with chlorophyll, her skin with aloe and she was able to seduce men with her “man-maddening” floral toxins, to which she is solely immune from.
In addition to her plant-like physiology, Ivy has a very special relationship with plants, thinking of them as her children. She can hear when a plant is in pain, and this drives her mad. Her sole aim continues to be saving the planet, but since the experiment, she began a move aggressive approach to this, quickly becoming Gotham’s most powerful eco-terrorist. She stopped caring about humans, thinking of them more as a plague upon Mother Nature’s earth, and attempts to eliminate them where she can. She is, however, thwarted by Batman continuously. Her only known friend and ally is Harley Quinn, a woman who Ivy imbued with fantastic acrobatic abilities through her herbal remedies.
Even though Ivy is mentally unstable, her intellect is unarguably brilliant, and her ability to seduce anyone who gets in her way is how she continues to elude capture.
Name: Selena Kyle
Appearance: Blue-green eyes, Black hair
Abilities: a formidable martial artist, Selena Kyle trained under a very powerful Sensei
Base: Gotham City slums – formerly East End
Creators: Bob Kane and Bill Finger
Selena Kyle had a hard life. Between her violent drunkard of a father who died from alcohol poisoning and her victimised mother who’d killed herself shortly before, Selena’s childhood was marred from an early age by a broken home. Then she was separated from her beloved younger sister Magdalena by the justice system. During her teenage years, Selena was remanded to a brutal juvenile detention centre, which only enhanced her distrust in people. When this black-haired beauty was released, she took to the streets of Gotham City, frequenting the slums and surviving by petty burglary and prostitution.
When she heard rumours about a masked vigilante protecting Gotham’s streets, she grew curious and began watching the Caped Crusader in action. Inspired by his mask (a symbol to her that encouraged fear and hope at the same time), she decided to do the same. Donning a skintight black catsuit and razor-sharp retractable claws, she was soon referred to as Catwoman by a security guard and loved the name.
A slippery villain, formidable enemy and gifted martial artist, Catwoman continues to elude authorities, striking fear in the hearts of every enemy she makes. She also has a pension for protecting women, especially the prostitutes in the slums. In one continuous storyline, her friend and ally Holly “GoNightly” Robinson was attacked by one of her clients, and Catwoman grew mad with rage, taking her vengeance out on the man and befriending Holly, who is believed to remind Selena of her long-lost sister Maggie.
Catwoman also found a formidable foe in Batman, Gotham’s dark protector, but this enmity very quickly blossomed into one of the strongest and most bizarre romances in DC history, that is, unless you count Harley Quinn and the Joker.
Name: Harleen Quinzel
Occupation: Psychotherapist, professional criminal, Joker devotee
Appearance: Blue eyes, blond hair
Abilities: Acrobatic technique and strength, stronger than a peak Olympic athletic.
Base: Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum
Creators: Paul Dini and Bruce Timm
So what do you do when you fall in love with Gotham’s most notorious criminal? Well, for young and impressionable psychotherapist for Arkham Asylum Dr Harleen Qunizel, the only possible option was to don herself as a “giggling gangstress” of Gotham and join his reign of terror.
When the case file of the Joker landed on Dr Quinzel’s desk, the young and talented psychotherapist began to unravel the madness that was Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime. After hearing heart-wrenching stories about a troubled and abusive childhood, she very quickly developed feelings for the grinning madman and soon orchestrated his escape from Arkham Asylum.
Completely besotted with the Joker, Harleen masked herself with the same grease paint the Joker used, and gave herself a jester’s costume, and was soon named Harley Quinn. Complete with her bag of tricks and a zany sense of humour, Harley soon joined the Joker in his reign of terror over Gotham. She consistently adores him and generally believes everything he tells her. Once she’d realised that he lied and scammed her on many of the things he’d said, she tried to leave him, but continuously goes back from time to time. However, he quickly grew tired of her following him around and attempted to blast her into outer space in a rocket. He should have known true love dies hard because Harley simply wouldn’t.
Not long after, Harley encountered Poison Ivy and her herbal remedies, which transformed the gangstress into a brilliant acrobat, making her an even more powerful man woman. Indeed, her love for the man she calls “Puddin” turned inward and made her insane, but she still loves him dearly. Over the last ten years of her existence, Harley has been in and out of Arkham Asylum (usually as a patient).
Interestingly, Harley Quinn is one of the few characters whose origins were from the Batman Animated Series and then transitioned into the comic books. She is a popular character who has teamed up with Catwoman and Poison Ivy as well as fight against them. But in a man’s world, you’ll definitely want these three women on your side of the fence.