04th Nov2015

‘Rivers of London #4’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel | Art by Lee Sullivan | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Paperback, 32pp


As we have reached issue 4 of this intriguing series, we have settled a little into more traditional plot and character development, rather than the more ‘in-your- face’ earlier chapters where the book hit the ground running with the intention of catching your eye. Now it has caught the eye, the authors are confident enough to slow the pace, and put more developmental work in. If not aware, Rivers of London: Body Work is inspired by the Rivers of London books – also by Ben Aaronovitch – and focuses on Peter Grant, a policeman assigned to the secret Metropolitan Police department that deals with supernatural crime. This current story arc takes place between books 4 and 5, so is completely in continuity.

For those that need a quick recap (although you really should go back and buy the previous three issues, they are worth it) Peter Grant and his boss Thomas Nightingale have been investigating a haunted car, an investigation that has led them across London chasing after motor parts removed from said car, apparently responsible for creating more haunted/ possessed cars. This issue opens with Peter at the hospital, with original owner Celeste Mapstone seriously injured, and Peter able to talk to her upset sister Kimberly about some of the back story. The original BMW had been a present to Celeste from her parents, but in time she had become scared to drive it and sold it on intending it to be destroyed.

Grant and Nightingale oversee the three cars they have so far, making them safe, and prepare to hunt for the fourth, and last, one. Meanwhile Grant visits the Mapstone house where he discovers that there had been a party at which an old antique chair had been burnt as wood for a beach fire. Grant ‘sees’ its history, the chair had been a witches chair in which at least one witch had been murdered through dunking her underwater in it. Her rage was still evident in the stones of the house. Meanwhile an interesting subplot is taking shape with Nightingale, and the appearance of an old colleague we assume, Archie, who is not looking too good…

This issue whizzed by, not because of the action (there was none) but the dialogue and character interaction sped us along nicely, as did the filling in of back story and explanation of sorts as to what ails the cars. It is all wonderfully over the top fun. Lee Sullivan’s art was excellent, still slightly static in places, but overall perfectly suited for the story being told. Some artists struggle with too many ‘characters just talking’ panels but Sullivan excels at this too. A very nice overall synergy of art and script.

The book is still enjoyable on two levels, for both the complete novice and for the knowledgeable fan. I have actually picked up the first novel out of interest purely based on this series, and if that was part of the intent for its creation then it has certainly succeeded. A fun read.

**** 4/5

Rivers of London #4 is out now from Titan Comics


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