14th Dec2017

‘Rivers of London: Cry Fox #2’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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


Last issue saw the beginning of a new story arc, Cry Fox, which although it did feature a fox of sorts had absolutely no crying. It did , though, have a whole heap of other stuff that directly led back to a previous storyline. That storyline was Night Witches, and the threats now being levelled against Varvara, the Russian witch who helped Peter and Inspector Nightingale solve that case. Enter Reynard Fossman, the odd fox/human hybrid who rather fancies picking up that reward money on Varvara. Also enter Abigail, Peter’s 15 year old cousin, who has started her training as a magic apprentice. Abigail is no match for the cunning of a fox, and finds herself and Anna, the Russian girl she unwittingly led to Fossman, captured.

Anna of course being the daughter of Ludmila Yakunima, in prison after the ‘Night Witches’ case, has come to the attention of the Police and The Folly quickly once her disappearance is known. As Peter and Nightingale start to work on her disappearance, they are made aware of Abigail’s too, though they have no reason to link the cases. Yet. Speaking of Abigail, she finds herself in  a huge country house. Not tied up and locked away, as you’d think, but free to wander the grounds and interact with everyone. Not to free to leave of course, as the tag on her ankle reminds her. Anna is being kept elsewhere on the grounds it seems. Abigail is a pretty smart cookie for a 15 year old, and plays the game while searching for a way to get out. Meet and greet time.

After an amusing graphic with her real opinion of the four people she has so far encountered, we meet Alaric. Alaric tells Abigail once this busy is concluded she is free to go (yeh, right), all she has to do is behave. Abigail notices that every book, movie and picture in Alaric’s library relate to one story, ‘The Hounds of Zaroff’ by Richard Connell, also called ‘The Most Dangerous Game’. Hmmmm. That book/ film is essentially about a rich man hunting human beings for sport. Alaric probably didn’t think Abigail would know that, but she’s seen Hard Target, with Jean-Claude Van Damme, essentially the same story. Who said watching Van Damme films couldn’t improve your life?

So what about Anna? She’s ok too, but has noticed a fox and a cub in a cage in the garden. What she doesn’t know is they can talk, and seem to be being held as hostages by Fossman to make Dan Russell, the talking fox from last issue, do his bidding. Fossman, it seems, is also the person responsible for supplying Alaric with his human victims. Alaric isn’t too impressed with Abigail, so his mum (his mum!) goes out to procure a better quality victim. Hey, is that Peter’s colleague Guleed coming out of a house they are watching. Is that dart gun? This isn’t going to end well.

Just as I thought I had this storyline pegged from last issue, this issue turns all that on its head. I though Cartmel and Aaronovitch would serve up an entertaining fairy tale inspired by foxes and their role in magic and myth. We got a dash of that, but then we got the whole wider theme of hunting and being hunted. Genius. Again, broken record that I am, a wonderful slice of fun. Peter was barely present, yet the quality of the story and the strong supporting characters carried this effortlessly. Lee Sullivan does nothing except pitch a perfect innings art wise pretty much every issue. All his characters are always distinctive and expressive, especially facially, and he puts a lot of effort in clearly with his reference work. Layouts, backgrounds, and figures all just great. Wouldn’t be Rivers without him.

Cartmel and Aaronovitch seem to have a bag of ideas that, rather like the mythical never ending pint of beer, remains permanently full to the brim with good stuff. Lucky them. More importantly, lucky us. Most importantly, lucky me.

****½  4.5/5


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