Rivers of London: Night Witch #1 –
Written by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Carmel
Art by Lee Sullivan
Colors by Luis Guerrero
Letters by Rob Steen
Witches, wizardry and Russians in London. Sounds like a winning combination for this Titan Comics series. Rivers of London is not new at all, as matter of fact, this story takes places in between Foxglove Summer and The Hanging Tree, for those who are already fans. If you’re not, the story follows Peter Grant and Thomas Nightingale, cops tasked to handle the most abnormal of cases.
Before we dive into the story, you may need your Google translator, because the first couple of pages are in Russian. There is a rescue attempt (and I use that term loosely) of a Russian woman named Varvara Sidorovna Tomonina. We find out very quickly there is more to her than being a normal prisoner. The plot thickens on her story when we find out SHE is asked to be part of an entirely different investigation. Her past, and the rescue attempt, play a key role in Summer and Nightingale’s investigation and brings back a familiar face.
To me, this doesn’t seem like an issue that you can just jump into and fully appreciate. We get a LOT of back story on these Russian characters, including real life Russian leaders, but not much else. As a new reader, there wasn’t really a whole lot of opportunity to get to know the detectives themselves. The big reveal also fell short on me, as very little information was given about a potential antagonist going forward for the book. The art by Sullivan is very sharp and detailed, so that definitely kept me turning the page. I don’t think there was anything wrong with the way the book was written, but with the bulk of it being back story on the Russians, I could find even regular readers may drift off a bit in this book. Fans of the series may stick around for the next issue, but this one just didn’t grab me the way I hoped it would.