Rivers of London Vol. 2
May 7, 2019 4:48 AM - by Ben Aaronovitch - Subscribe

Press-ganged into helping a Russian oligarch hunt his missing daughter, PC Peter Grant and his boss, Thomas Nightingale, London's only wizarding cops, find themselves caught up in a battle between Russian gunmen, a monstrous forest creature – and their nemesis: The Faceless Man. But as Grant and Nightingale close in on the missing girl, they discover that nothing about this case is what it seems!
posted by dinty_moore (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(this is Night Witch - the ISBN has the name officially as Volume 2 for whatever reason)

Harping about the character designs and the art just gets tiring, but I do want to point out that Beverley isn't shown wearing a full outfit throughout the entire book - she's either in a wetsuit, in a sleep shirt or less, and everything looks spraypainted on. I could go into more detail, but really, the not wearing clothes is the main issue. Giving us Peter butt doesn't make up for it. Also, yeah, Lesley is made to look like she has a normal face behind the mask.

I did like the more stylized pieces - the fake R.Crumb pot hit panels worked for me, as did the soviet Varvara art (the flat coloring style on those probably didn't hurt).

I think this is the book that answers the most random questions people have about stuff that happens in the comics - why is Varvara free enough to teach Abigail and what the hell is up with Maksim. The introduction of Maksim seems like an attempt to put a friendlier face on the fact that it's canon that the rivers can control people. I don't know how effective it is? The explanation of how it works is a lot nicer than what we originally got from the warning about Mama Thames. But it does mean that Peter is again living in a place that has unpaid domestic labor, and that's supposed to be okay, because it's what he wants and Bev is benevolent about it. Which is, something. At least it's brought up in a way that makes it clear that we're supposed to find it creepy, if not a dealbreaker.

We do get Lesley, Varvara, and Nightingale POV for a few panels. The Lesley POV isn't especially illuminating (or. . .make much sense in the end), but the Varvara POV gives a decent sense of her motives - not much different than what she indicated in Broken Homes.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:07 PM on May 7, 2019

I don't know if I've said it, but I'm not super interested in the art in the comics either. Not just how they depict people, but the actual style/skill.

I have a sneaking fondness for Varvara, and it was good to get a few more glimpses of her.
posted by PussKillian at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Black Mould is up.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:04 AM on May 14, 2019

I wish we’d gotten more Varvara; the flashbacks were a little ham-handed, and the modern day stuff had all the characters all the time. It might have worked better for her to try and solve the mystery on her own, and only bring Peter or Nightingale in at the end. Not sure Beverley was well-served by her “page time.” Making it a Peter/Varvara buddy cop story would have been more efficient. They sort of get there, but never really commit to it.

The artist did a rather nice job making Ludmila Mikhailovna and her mother look alike but not exactly so. The timeline may be a bit dodgy; Ludmila probably would have been born around 1950, and she doesn’t seem to be in her 60s. On the other hand, maybe there were dragging hijinxs. On the other other hand, weren’t the Night Witches purged after the war? The rest of the Art is the usual Sullivan hodgepodge; I thought Lesley’s outfits were especially un-Lesley.

I thought the mystery worked pretty well — lots of twists and a satisfying ending. The historical background was delivered pretty economically. So, not as good as a novel, but... OK?
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:35 AM on May 25, 2019

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