14th Jun2022

‘Rivers of London: Deadly Ever After #2’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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

Rivers of London is always at its best when it is adding something new to something that already exists. A fresh take on something, making you look at something in a different way, introducing a new level to look at something on, and so on. It takes the familiar and shows us what we should be seeing. It’s always on a winner when it does this. This new arc is a lovely shiny example of exactly that. It’s a fresh take on fairy tales and their tropes, and how what we think we know is nearly there, but not quite. We get the nice version, the safe version. Going by that first issue, Celeste Bronfman seems more than eager to show us the reality of fairy tale unreality.

Although Chelsea and Olympia are the ‘stars’ of this story, if the beginning of this issue is anything to go by, it seems the scope of the story and its cast is about to widen. I did enjoy last issue, but Chelsea and Olympia are no substitutes for Peter and Nightingale after all. So, where were we? We were following a book of fairy tales, a book whose stories are affecting people in real life. A book that came from a girl in a red hood, and who may be very old herself. Magic is alive and well in the woods it seems. That’s exactly what the foxes think, and they make their way to The Folly to tell Peter and Nightingale there is a man running around the woods who thinks he’s a wolf. Unfortunately, Peter and Nightingale are otherwise engaged (don’t ask) so Abigail will have to do.

Abigail is young and enjoys magical adventures, but unlike Chelsea and Olympia she actually has a dash of responsibility to go with that. She listens to the foxes’ story, and after a reward of cheese puffs, lots of cheese puffs, she takes off to the Medway to investigate. Chelsea and Olympia meanwhile, through the very unmagical world of social media, are beginning to realise that Mulberry Tree incident from last issue may have been a little more serious than they first thought. We know this of course, so nice of them to catch up. Time for Abigail to meet them there and explain the extent of their, ah, unfortunate use of magic.

From what the foxes and Abigail can work out, the magic the girls used to reveal the magical mulberry tree also revealed it to a mysterious third party, one who has clearly been using it to their advantage. Or just others disadvantage, we’re not entirely sure yet. Luckily for the girls, Abigail offers her help…. which they turn down. They fancy a road trip; they fancy an adventure, and this promises both. It will, of course, no doubt end in disaster, but you can’t fault their enthusiasm. First stop, St. Thomas’s Hospital, and the stepmother of Liz (from the group in the woods last issue) who has been acting mighty strange. Just like a stepmother from a fairy tale would, obviously.

She has a book, ‘Folk and Fairy Tales’ edited by Phoebe (from the woods) and based on original fairytales written by a certain Rose Day. That very old photo seems to be Rose from many years ago, and she seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to Phoebe. The girls haven’t gotten that far yet. They decide to go check on Ricardo, the handsome very buff actor (wonder why they chose him) now obsessed with frogs, and currently filming in the Barnes Nature Reserve. He does make them realise that all the others were affected because they were around the campfire, whereas Phoebe had mysteriously left when the strange blue light worked its magic. So, Phoebe is to blame for all this, find her and case closed.

Well, they do find her, not only is it not case closed, but it also seems she might just be the biggest victim of all. Say what now?

I think all the thing I said last time round are still relevant here. This is a fun story, with fun characters, and one I am pleasantly enjoying, but it is just lacking a little of the spark that Peter and Nightingale bring. The muddling through from Chelsea and Olympia is amusing for a time but will run out of road before four issues are up at this rate. The cameos from others were very welcome for just that reason. The art was very nice throughout as always.

So, turnabout is fair play, I guess. Issue 3 promises to be the big reveal issue, though Chelsea and Olympia may take a while to actually realise this of course.

***½  3.5/5

Rivers of London: Deadly Ever After #2 is released tomorrow, Weds 15th June, courtesy of Titan Comics.


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