14th Dec2015

‘Rivers of London #5’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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


All good things must come to an end, and with this issue our first comic book foray into the London as seen through the eyes of Ben Aaronovitch and his creative partners concludes. As you would expect, it has been a slightly uneven series, always fun and interesting but with occasional plotting and pacing issues. Issue 1 and 4 were quite strong, as memory serves, issue 2 and 3 not so much. It can be tough finding that balance between good story and introducing the world we are going to be visiting, but with four issues down I think overall the creative team have just about evened that out. I was looking for this issue, issue 5, to seal the deal.

The first thing I was looking for was for all the various plot threads, especially the main ‘haunted car’ central plot, to be nicely wrapped up and explained. Last issue we had the breakthrough that lead back to a haunted ducking stool, and the story of witches drowned many years ago in the grounds of the manor house where the original owner of the haunted car lived. Then of course the car was broken up but the individual car parts were still haunted, causing various mishaps across London. In PC Peter Grant’s world, that’s all pretty normal.

We learn here that Grant’s boss, Nightingale, has a connection to the case in that a friend of his, Archie, was involved in a previously possessed car. The possession of the car (or two cars, including Archie’s brief story) is wrapped up a little fancifully, but on balance does make sense. The ‘entity’ or ‘force’ doesn’t like to possess damaged things, so although it prefers people, if they are drunk or taking drugs it won’t possess them, instead the car was a better choice. It still influenced people though, including Kimberley Mapstone, sister of Celeste, and Celeste sold the car to get it away from her sister. We also get to see Nightingale flex his magical muscles at the case’s resolution, which is fun, as he had little to do up to then. The overall story is indeed wrapped up nicely, with a little montage of character resolutions.

A quick mention again for the fantastic art of Lee Sullivan, which never fails to disappoint. He delivers on a nice range of situations, present day, 1920’s, and earlier, a range of figures in all era dress, and cars and environments. As always, his layouts keep the script clear and easy to follow. Colourists are being more and more noticed these days as well, and Guerrero certainly delivers a nice palette of bright colours when appropriate, and muted, paler colours when needed. It is a good, solid book art-wise.

Over the 5 issues I would say this has been a solid start to the comic book incarnation of Rivers of London. Not absolutelytop-notch, as at times it has lacked a little bit of a spark, but very good nonetheless. Now it has introduced us to PC Peter Grant and his world, I expect the next limited series to really get its teeth into a more substantial story, less world -building and more straight out story telling. The taster we get at the end of this issue certainly looks a complete change of pace, that’s for sure.

I like this world, and certainly plan to return to it when the next issue appears in a few months time. I suggest you do the same.

**** 4/5

Rivers of London #5 is out now from Titan Comics


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