12th May2022

‘Rivers of London: Deadly Ever After #1’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Celeste Bronfman | Art by Jose Maria Beroy, David Cabeza | Published by Titan Comics

A couple of quick observations here before diving in. Firstly, it’s welcome back to Rivers of London, which is a book I have been reviewing since it first appeared in comic book form back in 2015 if memory serves. Secondly, this may be the first time we have a Rivers story arc that hasn’t had either creator Ben Aaronovitch or co-writer Andrew Cartmel doing the actual writing. Andrew Cartmel is now Script Editor, so essentially looking over the shoulder of new writer Celeste Bronfman, who has rather large shoes to fill. It’s nice to see artist Jose Maria Beroy back, although now just pencilling with David Cabeza inking. Could this preview a more regular publishing schedule?

The original team have always been very busy and the gaps are probably due to scheduling as much as anything else. We can but hope.

We begin in 1897 Allington Lock, with a down on his luck painter and his young daughter Rose. Their dreams and paintings of tree nymphs don’t go down too well with the locals it seems. Back to the here and now, and the ongoing adventures of Chelsea and Olympia. They are, of course, the playful daughters of Mama Thames. Well-meaning, but liable to leave a trail of chaos behind them. Situations normally made worse by the fact they both like a bit of weed on the side. Ok, more than a bit. Lots of weed. This time around, some weed, a new friend, eating mulberries from a magically hidden tree, and a mysterious hooded stranger watching them are all pointing toward something a little dodgy on the horizon. First, time for a nap.

Rude awakenings always interrupt weed-induced naps, and this time is no exception. Screams wake the sisters, and they rush to the scene. It seems someone they had previously seen having a vegan burger barbecue, the very buff Chris, is currently now munching down on an old lady’s neck. Odd enough. Throw in the fact the child screaming is wearing a red hoodie, and the attack is reminiscent of, I don’t know, a wolf eating a grandmother. Sound familiar? One magical aided fight later, Chris is knocked out. Time to call the Police.

The Police turn up to do their due diligence, and Bev (Peter Grant’s wife, keep up) makes sure the sisters promise to make a quick exit. Which they don’t of course, especially when there is a shifty woman lurking on the fringes. Turns out she’s just worried but does reveal Chris was just Chris until a weird blue light hit him. Hmmm. Magic…cough…mulberry…cough..tree. The sisters do the first sensible thing they’ve done up to now, and call Peter and Nightingale. Time to call in people who actually know what they are doing….eventually. Peter and Nightingale are dealing with demons on a tube train, so a tad busy at the moment.

All’s well that ends well, right? Not even close. Turns out we should have been paying more attention to the red hoodie-wearing girl. She gave the girls a fairy tale book, and that book seems to be able to influence real life. Pages open to The Frog Prince, one of the people who had been in the woods suddenly thinks he’s a frog. Snow White? Liz, another witness from the woods, eats an apple given to her by her step-mother, which turns out to be poisoned. I know Chelsea and Olympia are magical beings themselves, but they may want to flip a few pages ahead as bad things are on the horizon it seems.

I enjoyed this. I was initially disappointed by the lack of Peter and Nightingale, the two best characters by a country mile, and I generally find Chelsea and Olympia amusing side characters but not really good enough to carry a book. That being said, they are IN the story but don’t have to carry the story. The writing was solid throughout, and the art very good, Rivers of London looking and sounding like it always has. A fun start that promises a lot.

To paraphrase Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s very easy not to believe in fairy tales until you find yourself right in the middle of one.

***½  3.5/5

Rivers of London: Deadly Ever After #1 will be released on May 18th 2022, courtesy of Titan Comics.

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