23rd Dec2016

‘Rivers of London: Black Mould #3′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel | Art by Lee Sullivan | Colour by Luis Guerrero | Published by Titan Comics

riversoflondon_black_mould_3-cover

This story arc has so far been outstanding stuff. Full of fabulously snarky dialogue, police procedural, magic, and a generous dose of humour and tongue firmly planted in cheek. The black mould of the title is a supernatural substance, a ‘class war evil supernatural black fungus’ as Sahra Guleed, Peter Grants colleague, amusingly calls it. Why so? The black mould only seems to be targeting the rich and heartless, and also only in buildings owned by the Wellcome Matt company. We left Peter at the end of last issue investigating one of those properties, with the small matter of a gang of thugs coming at him.

Peter of course is nothing if not resourceful, and a little dip in his bag of magic sorts out those thugs… as well as a well placed punch in the old family jewels. One amusing interview later, turns out the goons were hired muscle sent to ‘encourage’ a sitting tenant to leave; as the tenant was mixed race, the thugs used a bit of casual racism and just assumed Peter was the tenant. All very amusing to Peter. Still, Peter and Sahra followed their lead to the property company they had previously come across, which it transpires is the junior company of Wellcome Matt properties. Wellcome Matt was founded in the 1950′s, though Mr. Wellcome is unavailable for comment as he is dead (not always as cut and dried as you would think in this book), and his son is in Australia..conveniently.

Peter is obviously becoming something of a pest himself, and it’s no coincidence when some black mould seems to appear in the apartment of girlfriend Bev. He rushes over there to eliminate it, but unknown to him a piece of mould attaches itself to his hazard suit and follows him back to police headquarters. It can’t be too dangerous though, right? apparently, yes, yes it can. This black mould has taken over his hazard suit so is in humanoid form, can walk, and has picked up two huge knives. I suspect Peter may be busy sooner rather than later.

The good times continue. Another fun issue, though not as near perfect as last issue. Still great character dialogue, great interplay, and very funny first person narration. Peter and Sahra remain a great ‘odd couple’. Despite the humour the main storyline, which does a serious side to it after all, continues to engage as well. Compared to the first two issues of this arc, this felt a little light on actual content, with the plot only moved along minimally, though you enjoy reading about these characters so much you can forgive that. Top class writing yet again from Aaronovitch and Cartmel.

Hate to say it, as it sounds a little dismissive, but more of the same from artist Lee Sullivan. I mean that, of course, in a positive way, as he has been constantly dependable throughout. Always great, straightforward layouts, nice clean lines in his art, and a particular skill in presenting dialogue heavy panels and facial close ups. Scenes flow so easily, sometimes that may add to the perception there is not as much content as there is. Perfect artist for this book.

Issue 3, the midway point of this 5 issue arc, fits the normal profile of being almost a ‘treading water’ issue. It was a good read, but you got the impression it was almost a ‘catch your breath a little’ before it all kicks off next issue.

Really enjoying this book, these characters, this creative team, and Peter Grant’s London

**** 4/5

Rivers of London: Black Mould #3 is out now from Titan Comics.

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