19th Aug2021

‘Rivers of London: Monday Monday #2’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

As last issue showed, this arc was looking to be a little bit different, at least as first, by having Peter firmly in the background and having a minor character or two take centre stage. It worked very well too. When you create such a large, living world full of such rich characters, it would be rude not to use them, right? Remember, the Rivers of London stories seamlessly connect between the comic books and the novels and short stories, as the handy visual guide always reminds you at the front of each comic. Last issue we focused on the quite colourful Miriam Stephanopoulos, as she was parachuted into Holborn Police as the new head of the anti street crime unit. This time round, the even more formidable Inspector Nightingale.

Before he was Peter’s mentor Inspector Nightingale, he was plain old Thomas Nightingale. Thomas is of course a lot older than he looks, magic being rather good for your complexion it seems. In the earlier twentieth century he attended Casterbrook boarding School, his abilities already starting to develop as a young student. This being a school teaching magic, that’s rather handy of course. Thomas stood out even then, for both ability and intelligence. As we learn more about his past, we flit back to the present, as we see what comes around goes around. Thomas’s teacher wanted him to also be a teacher and he is of sorts, teaching new police recruits aspects of magic. Only those in the know of course.

So what’s all this got to do with last issue’s Miriam spotlight? Glad you asked. Miriam wants Nightingale to help with her case, so he drags his students along to investigate. No harm in a little training alongside investigation. Nightingale detects a trace of Werewolf, which is odd as they don’t exist in the British Isles, just mainland Europe. They come in all shapes and sizes apparently. Peter, who also drops by, is also impressed by this. Nightingale reminisces again, to encounters he had just before the Second World War, and certain Joseph Dohmen he encountered. Seemingly nice guy who was revealed to be a Nazi spy. Thomas lost that one, but learnt from it. Another building block in making him who he is today.

Speaking of today, Nightingale’s on his way home. His ‘home’, and his home circumstances are perhaps not what you would expect, but then that’s been the point of this issue. We’ve always seen Nightingale as this almost all-powerful, long lived wizard, a father figure and mentor to Peter. Infallible even. This peek into his back story, his youth, shows us that once he was like Peter, seeking guidance, needing to be taught what magic was and what is should be used for. The story was nicely structured to both move the overriding story arc forward, that of Miriam’s investigation, but also develop Nightingale’s back story to show us the more human side of him. I, for one, feel I know him better.

As you would expect from Cartmel and Aaronovitch’s writing, nothing here contradicts anything that has been written before. It fits seamlessly around the limited knowledge we had of Nightingale’s past, while adding to it. It was a gentle issue, one in which affection for the character shone through rather than any huge action scenes, and all the better for it. I’ll take rich characters over fight of the month any day. Nicely done as always. The art, by Beroy, was again quite conventional in its panel structure, but then that’s sort of the Rivers house style I think. Intentional. It certainly makes everything easy to follow. A lot of background detail in there too, which I always like.

A solid issue once again. Nightingale, a great character, always.

**** 4/5

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