Rivers of London: Night Witch (Issue 3)
Rich business tycoon Nestor Yakunin and his wife believe their daughter was kidnapped by the folklore monster, the Leshy, in Kent. The investigators, Lesley May and Peter Grant, must find who really kidnapped her.
Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel
Producer: Titan Comics
Artist: Lee Sullivan
Writer: Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel
I love trying out new comic book arcs that are not related to any TV show or comic legacy. The story has to grip and win over its readers with storytelling and drama.
I took a gamble when I read issue #3 of Rivers of London, based on the novels by Aaronovitch.
Here is what I found.
Language/ Crude Humor: A few S-bombs and the word bollocks
Violence: A woman runs angrily with a knife. A thug threatens a prisoner with a gun.
Sexual Content: N/A
Spiritual Content: N/A
Positive Elements: The investigators, Lesley May and Peter Grant are devoted to finding the missing girl
Other Negative Elements: Themes of revenge, anger and bitterness run through the investigation
Rich business tycoon Nestor Yakunin and his wife believe their daughter was kidnapped by the folklore monster, the Leshy, in Kent. The investigators, Lesley May and Peter Grant, must find who kidnapped her. To make matters worse, the investigator, Nightingale, is being held for ransom by a rogue group until Yakunin’s daughter is returned. Something smells afoul as Lesley and Peter believe that there is no folklore monster and that the group who captured Nightingale might be in cahoots with the Yakunin family.
I really did not know what I was getting into just by reading the title. The book is called Rivers of London: Night Witch. I for sure thought I was getting a mystical occult book with monsters. Even the cover of the book has a mystical woman emerging from a lake. All signs pointed to a pagan fantasy story.
That was so not the case. The tone and the setting of this issue was more X-Files and 007 than anything else. The main protagonists do police investigation work to help find the Nightingale and to discover if Nestor’s daughter was really kidnapped by a monster called the Leshy. The story is set in London, but has a large Russian cast. There’s a double twist cliffhanger at the end where Lesley and Peter think that the Russian group behind the kidnapping of Nightingale is a double-cross. For those of you keeping score, there are no witches or Leshys in this issue.
The other qualm I have with the story is that it fills the pages with silent boxes of art that tell a story, but half the time I did not know what was going on. The producer gave us issue 3, so I am still confused as to who is who in the comic book. A lot of names are dropped, but I don’t know their significance.
Comic books are way more risky than TV. If an issue in the story arc is too lame then the readers won’t shell out $3.99 for the next installment. I don’t believe there was enough meat in this issue to want more. The meat that I was served was confusing.
I also could not gather any chemistry from Peter and Lesley or any of the characters. Everyone seems like an NPC from a video game. Perhaps the writers were more fixed on keeping the hard science of the investigation as the plot driver.
The art is very clean and bright. The character models seemed plain, but at least they didn’t get in the way of the plot.
I have to say, with a cool name like Rivers of London: Night Witch, I did not expect such a disjointed story. After much confusion and rereads, I would definitely recommend this to fans of True Detectives, but even then there are better offerings for $3.99.
[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B01CT77A86]
+ A good kidnap/secret agent story underneath it all
- The cover is misleading
- No proper backstory to understand what is going on
- Plain characters