Rivers of London: Detective Stories #1
Writers: Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel
Artist: Lee Sullivan
Colors: Luis Guerrero
Letters: Rob Steen
Publisher: Titan Comics
A Review by David Hildebrand
Once again I find myself diving into the deep end of the pool in the Rivers of London: Detective Stories #1. I was completely oblivious to the Rivers of London series until I read Detective Stories #1. If you aren’t familiar with the series either, let me give you a quick run down. Ben Aaronovitch has written numerous novels of the Rivers of London. You can check out the list here. The novels are police stories with lore, mythology, and a bunch of humor centered around magic wielding constable Peter Grant. Rivers of London: Detective Stories #1 is the first issue of the Rivers of London comic’s fourth arc. Each issue of the four-part arc is a self-contained tale of magic and criminal chaos. Is it a good starting point for new readers? Absolutely!
Normally, I don’t like starting in the middle of a story. If I knew that this was a long running series, I probably would have turned down reading this first issue. But it is the start of a new arc, so I was willing to give it a shot and hope that I wouldn’t be too lost. Rivers of London: Detective Stories begins with Grant being interviewed by Detective Inspector Chopra. Chopra’s job is to listen to Grant reflect on the events of four cases he solved to ensure he has earned the right to call himself a bona fide detective. This first case centers around a burned goat on a rooftop. The goat was used for a magical ritual, but what was the purpose of the ritual? Grant swings into action, gathering clues to solve the mystery of who did this dastardly crime.
This being my first venture into the world of Peter Grant, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. I figured that I would be lost, characters would show up that I would have no idea about and that I would be frustrated not knowing any of their history. But I wasn’t! Aaronvitch’s script is a new adventure. There are no asterisks telling to go back and check out “X” part of “X” book. The supporting characters in this story may very well be a bigger part in previous stories but in this instance, Aaronvitch maintains focus purely on the narrative resting in my hands. For that, I am appreciative and I feel as if I am now invited to revisit Peter Grant and the bigger world that he inhabits.
Sullivan’s and Guerrero’s art works well with Detective Stories #1. Guerrero’s choice of palette isn’t anything loud, and it fits the atmosphere of the story perfectly. Sullivan’s line work has a very realistic style and even though Rivers of London: Detective Stories is focused around magic, I wasn’t missing any bright effects or magical explosions. The backgrounds are well defined and the expressions on the characters are very sharp.
Check it Out! I can’t tell you to run right out and buy it, but that’s only because I want to become more familiar with Grant’s world before I start building a collection. This series is four issues, so it’s pretty easy to pick up and begin and I might end up going that route anyway. But I’m one that likes to start at the beginning, so I’m looking at you, original Rivers of London!