19th Jun2018

‘Rivers of London: Water Weed #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Andrew Cartmel | Art by Lee Sullivan | Published by Titan Comics

Rivers_of_London_Water_Weed_1_Cover-A

Seems to have been an absolute age since there has been a new Rivers of London book, and looking back the last issue of the ‘Cry Fox’ arc was back in February. How dare Cartmel and Aaronovitch have any time off. Well, obviously they’ve been off doing other things, the Seventh Doctor (Who) book among others, but Rivers of London has been missed. Not just the quality of its storytelling, which is always top notch, or its humour, which is always a highlight, but just the overall book. The main characters, the supporting characters, the mystical London just under the surface, it all adds up to pure entertainment. I’m pleased it’s back.

The strength of the book has always been the continuity of its creative team, the writing duo of Cartmel/ Aaronovitch, and the art of Lee Sullivan. Alas, the fab three is now a dynamic duo, as Cartmel takes on solo writing duties for the first time. Let’s see what he has up his sleeve then. For those with short memories, or new to the book, all you need to know is our hero Peter Grant is now a newly promoted Detective Constable in the Metropolitan Police, specifically the Special Assessment Unit. This unit is the Mets magical investigation department, and Peter is it’s trainee wizard. Got all that? Good.

Judging by the title of this arc, it seems London’s water ways are going to be the focus of this arc. Quite appropriate considering that London’s rivers have always been of huge importance to London and its history, both real and mythological, and that Peter’s girlfriend Beverley is also a river goddess. I could mention the title of the books and comics too but, well, too much probably. We start this issue with a drug deal. Two amateurs delivering weed to customers using the river. all going fine until two girls emerge from the river, demanding a tithe. The boys oblige and scarper, terrified, though it turns out the girls aren’t quite as scary as they tried to appear. Turns out they know Beverley, her ‘sisters’ in fact, who takes the bag of weed off them, to dispose of later. Ahem.

Fast forward to a party that Peter and Beverley are at, and Beverley is doing a good job of disposing of the weed. Judging by a few reactions, including that of some mysterious woman, this weed may not be exactly what it seems. Peter finds this out when Beverley blows a faceful at him, and he experiences a vivid vision in which he is imprisoned. Peter’s turn to liberate the weed, but this time for a good reason. To find out just what it is. Peter consults with Inspector Nightingale, and follows the only lead he has, the purple logo of a woman’s tattooed face stamped on the bags.

Peter swaps information with Beverley, who is still upset about causing Peter to have that blackout. They decide to try and track down the mysterious woman at the party, who seemed to know a tad more than she should. Meanwhile Chelsea and Olympia, Beverley’s water sisters staying at her home, have been targeted by a pair of goons. The goons never actually stood a chance, but who sent them? Looks like some mystery woman on a canal boat, one who just happens to have the same facial tattoo as those bags of weed. Hmmm.

Not a bad start to the new arc. Although Andrew Cartmel is now writing solo, the humour is still in place, as is the patient setting up of pieces that will be systematically knocked down later. The playful use of mythology and magic also continues apace. Lots of fun, as always. Lee Sullivan’s art is what you expect, top class, with lovely clean lines and perfect pacing. Luis Guerrero’s colours are always an integral part of the book too. Colourists are a bit like drummers in bands, not glamorous enough to be the front man but still vital to the show. A top creative team.

Same old, same old sounds bad, but it is in fact a compliment. When the book is consistently one of the best on the shelves, you applaud the consistency to stay there.

The magic is still very much alive.

**** 4/5

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