24th Jul2017

‘Rivers of London: Detective Stories #2’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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


Rivers of London continues to be one of the consistently best books out there month after month. It combines the best of both worlds, story wise. We get clear, defined story arc’s, which allow for anything and everything the writers can dream up, but we also get the comfort of a recurring cast of characters, all nicely defined and free to come in and out of the narrative as the story demands. It all adds up to one of the most entertaining books out there. The never changing (so far, fingers crossed) writing and art team is also a great help, as it keeps this world consistent. Fans tend to like consistent.

So Rivers of London: Detective Stories #1 was primarily about Peter Grant’s attempt to get his nose in for a promotion to detective, and the interview process he was going through. Along the way we got a little history lesson about The Folly, the secretive ‘magic’ branch of the Metropolitan Police that was built on guidelines from Sir Isaac Newton no less. We also got to see the police procedural side of this book, which pops up now and again, as we see Peter deal with a case from start to finish. It’s police work, folks, but not as we know it. Peter’s investigations solved the initial crime, but have focused his attention on a certain shady law firm.

Peter’s ongoing interview with Detective Inspector Chopra now turns to a case from 2013, different enough from last issues case to show Peter’s range. This one, interestingly enough, involved someone sneaking into Apsley House, the former home of the Duke of Wellington, and leaving a priceless 200 year old sketch by Goya behind for no apparent reason. Oh, and bypassing a state of the art security system while doing so. Peter and his then partner Lesley May turn for help to a contact called Oberon, a man seemingly born in the 1750’s and still looking in pretty good shape today. He tells them they are looking for Andre Lemaitre, a French soldier at the Battle of Waterloo still alive and well today. Peter and Lesley get their man, after the obligatory foot race of course, and Andre tells them of his friendship with Goya, and that he was the subject of the sketch Goya drew, and he stole at the time. He merely wanted to return the sketch to somewhere it should be.

Case closed.

Not the most exciting case it would seem, as pointed out by both Detective Inspector Chopra and also by me. But the fact the case brought Lesley May, the scarred, mask wearing (now) former partner of Peter, and future nemesis, in contact with Oberon is obviously of huge importance to the Rivers of London mythology. Oberon opened her eyes to the fact she could change her situation, could throw off the conventions binding her and go her own way, do her own thing. Her self-hatred at feeling like a monster, due to her facial scarring, needed to be more focused into more constructive ways Oberon tells her. Oberon, as an apparent immortal, has little time for conventional morality, or right or wrong, and Lesley seemingly started down her future road at this time.

A very low key issue this one, nice enough but lacking that fine attention to detail, that sparkling dialogue we are used to. The main case was little more than window dressing for an extra insight into Peter and Lesley’s past, though all was done with great aplomb as always. The text pages though were as good as ever. Nothing bad to say about the art of course, Lee Sullivan continuing to deliver on the ideal book for him. Past or present, big wide panel shots of the environment or smaller intimate facial close-ups, Sullivan always does great work. He always sticks to a pretty consistent page grid, but this means pacing is always near perfect.

Let’s call this issue a breather, a treading of water story wise for the good stuff just about to come. And it will come, if we know this book as well as we think.

***½  3.5/5


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