13th Nov2017

‘Rivers of London: Cry Fox #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

Rivers_of_London_Cry_Fox_1_Cover-A

Always a pleasure when a new issue of Rivers of London arrives, even more so when it is the start of a new story arc. You never quite know where this book will be going, so rich is the world the creators have made for us. I especially like the fact that the stories can be enjoyed entirely on their own merits for non-novel readers, but the stories are also placed in the book timeline for those that like that sort of thing. Like me.

Although a recap of the first issue of a new arc seems a tad strange, it’s probably needed as this isn’t a book where things happen in one issue and are never referenced again. Things happen and things matter in Peter Grant’s world. As we saw last issue, Peter Grant has managed to get promoted to Detective Constable, though he remains merely a trainee wizard. His boss, Inspector Nightingale, is London’s only current wizard policeman. Although life goes on, The Faceless Man and Lesley May have been becoming more of a presence of late, what I guess you would call the ‘bad guys’. Though as long time fans know, with Lesley it’s a little more complicated.

New storyline, old faces, as the Russian witch Varvara, from the Night Witches arc makes a reappearance. After agreeing to help Peter and Nightingale with that case, it seems she’s something of a marked woman. Well that won’t do. Which is exactly what Nightingale and Peter are going around telling everyone in London’s magical establishments. She is under the protection of The Folly, and anyone who tries anything against her will regret it. And who, or what is Reynard Fossman? Apart from shifty, dodgy, untrustworthy and like the baddie in every fairy tale you’ve ever read of course. He’ll be back later I’m sure. Or sooner.

As wizards always seem to need apprentices, it seems 15 year old Abigail, Peter’s cousin, has been chosen to be trained in magic. Unfortunately, while the others are busy, Abigail has been persuaded by a talking fox to find Anna, the in care daughter of the Yakunina’s, and persuade her to come with her to meet her mother. The Yakunina’s had been involved in all that Night Witches nastiness you recall. Foxes are trustworthy, right? Hey, doesn’t that Reynard Fossman look like a fox? Hmmm. Anyhow, Abigail proves herself a smart cookie and tells Anna to run when she senses something is not quite right here. Apart from the talking fox of course. The girls make a good stab of it, but end up captured. A quick phone call to Anna’s mother, and a new game’s afoot. But what? By who?

As well as the main story, which is better than a lot of entire issues elsewhere, you also get a fascinating four page text piece look at the role of the fox in mythology and folklore. That’s what makes this book so great, it’s the little extras thrown in along the way that elevate a good book to a great one. Add in the extra one page ‘Tales from Pathology’, which made me smile, and you’ve got great value for money. Above and beyond always wins.

At the risk of repeating myself, this title should be near the top of everyone’s reading pile every month. Cartmel and Aaronovitch are incapable of turning in a script that is not packed with both fun and drama, with interesting characters and scenarios, and with dialogue that is often laugh out loud funny. the balance, between telling a story and having fun, is always pitch perfect. The art, By Lee Sullivan, is not just good it actually defines Peter Grant’s world and the look of the characters. Always perfectly paced, lovely clean lines, perfect layouts, and always designed to make the script look it’s best. The book is lucky to have him, but then they already know that I’m sure.

Even an issue like this, finding its feet for the new arc to push on from, is just a pleasure to read. I could stay in this world all day. Good to have it back.

**** 4/5

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