15th Jul2021

‘Rivers of London: Monday Monday #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel | Art by Jose Maria Beroy | Published by Titan Comics

The way you know a good character is by the company he keeps. Peter Grant most definitely keeps good company. I don’t just mean his immediate cast of course, we see plenty of them, but also the extended family of characters. The Rivers of London books and comics have managed to create a fantastic world that makes you believe that the mundane world around us hides a more fun and fantastical one. Occasionally a very dangerous one as well of course. What gives this world building its energy, its feeling of life, is all those characters that pop in and out of Peter’s story. This time, we have the pleasure of meeting Miriam Stephanopoulos.

I think it’s fair to say, as the first few pages indicate, Miriam’s not your usual copper. Let’s call her ‘colourful’, in both word and deed. We like colourful. Miriam’s just been assigned to Operation Willow, based at Holborn Police Station, and is the new temporary boss of the anti street crime unit. Should be a straight forward assignment, right? Not when it’s this book it’s not. Strange things have been happening to undercover officers, such as medical leave after certain ‘incidents’ on the job, and Miriam’s going to get to the bottom of it. She’s got her work cut out, as this team seem a bit unsettled, to put it mildly. So it’s just as well they get a lead.

An undercover sting outside Kings Cross nets them a young pickpocket, and sees the arrival of a certain Peter Grant to help with the investigation. Peter and Miriam have a interesting relationship. Mutual respect and all that, but Miriam is a little distrustful of Peter and his colleagues, as things always seem to end up badly when they are involved. A simple, straightforward case ends up being anything but. So while Peter prepares to interview the young suspect, to see if anything is going on under the surface, Miriam follows her hunch that an insider on the team is an informant. Traditional police work vs. The Folly and its magic. May the best officer win.

There’s a great page where the story sees Miriam following her methodology with an internal monologue, intercut with Peter showing how to get an uncooperative witness to talk. Fab stuff. Peter manages to get two addresses out of Kyle, the young bag snatcher. One is a place where the kids all stay, one is the place where the stolen stuff is stored. Peter’s going to take one address, Miriam’s team the other. First, Miriam dangles a treat in front of DS Tony Boyer, her prime suspect for internal bad guy, to see if he bites. Looks like he does, but you’ll have to wait until next month to see what happens.

So, an issue that both sets the scene and world builds and yet manages to deliver an interesting start to the latest story arc. Peter was very much the side character in this story, and Miriam made for a very enjoyable lead. I enjoyed the way the co-writers show us that although the mundane police work still goes on every day, anytime something not quite right pops up The Folly are never far away. It was almost a pure police procedural this issue, with Miriam’s traditional detective work taking centre stage, yet things happening around the fringes made you aware that Miriam’s skills alone probably aren’t going to cut it on this one, formidable as she is.

Knowing Peter wasn’t going to be front and centre on this did make we worry that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as normal, but I needn’t have worried. It was a solid start, with a fun set up and interesting characters, and the usual great dialogue from Aaronovitch and Cartmel. The art, by Beroy, was nice enough, seemingly keeping to an almost ‘Rivers’ house style of mostly traditional grid layouts with the occasional deviation. Clean lines and well paced, always what you look for.

Unlike Bob Geldof, I most definitely do like Monday Monday’s.

***½  3.5/5


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