03rd Feb2020

‘Rivers of London: The Fey & The Furious #4’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel | Art by Mariano Laclaustra | Published by Titan Comics


The thing I like about Rivers of London is the unpredictability of the storylines. When a new arc begins, I read the first few pages and think I have a pretty clear idea where the story is going, and I’m usually completely and utterly wrong. that same technique works on about three quarters of the books I read, so make of that what you will. The other Rivers quirk is marrying genres together, or making magic meld with a subject it shouldn’t really work well with. The basic premise from the start was a magic and police procedural combo, so it has been pretty consistent with its mission statement. Which is nice. So, street racing and Fairy Land for the last three issues, with a little inter realm smuggling of unicorn horns. That’s worth the price of admission alone.

So last issue saw Peter in all sorts of trouble. Stuck in Fairy Land, where he has uncovered that aforementioned ‘kill unicorns for their horns’ operation, he has been found by a pretty annoyed Fairy Queen, who wants to resolve previous misunderstandings. I’m being generous here, she wants Peter’s head. He managed to rescue two human girls the Fairy Queen had kidnapped, but broke the pact promising to take their place. His only play here is to challenge her to combat, which a fairy has to honour. As Peter’s magic doesn’t work here, it’s fair to say Peter’s just using delaying tactics on this one, hoping girlfriend Bev or boss Nightingale will arrive in the nick of time to save his bacon. Luckily for Peter, Bev is on the case, having made her way to Rotterdam on his trail, looking for help from fellow river goddesses. Will she be on time though?

Peter’s threat to the Fairy Queen, pretty hilariously, to ‘fuck her up’ if she doesn’t step away, fails dismally and the rumble is on. Actually it’s not. Peter, rather sensibly, legs it. As always though, he has a plan. He runs to the unicorn abattoir, revealing it in all its horror to the Fairy Queen, who, as you can imagine, doesn’t take too kindly to unicorn slaughter. That’s done it all right. Peter warns all the humans to get out quickly if they can, as the vengeance of a powerful fairy is not to be sneezed at. One quick unicorn ride later, Peter joins the other racers to get the hell out of there. They chase Cross, the mastermind behind all the smuggling, but don’t overtake as only he knows where the portal is. As always, the wrap up is fairly pat, but the fun is always had in getting to that point. Everyone ends up home, though via a ferry trip from Holland obviously.

Rather like the play on the words the title of the arc suggests, this story has been fast and furious, appropriately enough for a story heavily featuring street racing and sports cars. I still love the way the writing feels so effortless, though I’m sure it’s not, as though the characters write themselves. The story just flowed, across all four issues, and the dialogue and interplay felt both natural and accurate. Peter was back to his best, an everyman hero who just happens to be a trainee wizard. The magic doesn’t define him, it’s just a part of him as a whole. The art, by Laclaustra, was superb, lovely clean layouts and flowing panels and perfect for the type of storytelling here. A little nod as well to the always interesting text pieces, which give a hint as to where the ideas for the stories come from, and the one page mini adventures. One fine package of a book.

Quirky is always good, and this book is the quirkiest of the quirky. Love it.

****½  4.5/5

Rivers of London: The Fey & The Furious #4 is out on February 5th from Titan Comics.


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