Comic Book Review: Rivers of London: Body Work #3

Rivers of London #3 Cover

Peter Grant and Nightingale are on the track of a killer haunted car, but first they have to figure out how to get back to the present as “The Most Haunted Car of England” took them to the 1920s at the end of issue 2. How does it fare?

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If you’re not familiar with the Rivers of London series of novels, you should know it is a very good mix of police procedural and fantasticy. The main character Peter Grant is the newest recruit of the London Police two-man department tasked to deal with all things weird, supernatural and magical. What’s interesting about those books is that while there are many strange and supernatural elements to the stories, they still very much have the feel of a great police procedural, as Ben Aaronovitch creates a very realistic universe, let’s you see London as if you were there, and gives a lot of information on the British police system. So when i heard of this comic series i was curious to see how it transitioned With issue 3 finished, i can say the result is so far pretty satisfying.

[easyazon_link identifier=”B013FJPFGQ” locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Body Work[/easyazon_link] is set between books 4 and 5, but if you’ve never read them you can start the comic with confidence as writers Aaronovitch and Cartmel take their time introducing the characters and the universe from Constable Peter Grant and his mentor Inspector Nightingale, to the various ghosts, spirits and coppers that surround him. It is all set up in a way that makes you accept the weird without too much question and makes you want to read the books to have the backstory.

The story is fairly simple, but also pretty fun as self-driving killer cars seem to appear around London,. A dash of “Christine” or “Maximum Overdrive” never hurt anybody. Yet as in the books it turns out the police procedural is very present in the story too, and that may end up being the most interesting part . This issue had a bit more humor than the previous two and saw more things happening than the fairly uneventful issue 2. What I regret the most is that London seems fairly absent in the story, most of the comic takes place in non-descriptive areas which is a shame as Aaronovitch clearly has a talent to make London real in the books. You can see the streets and sights better with his words in the novel than you can feel here, despite being in graphic form.

This may be due to the art being pretty average, although it seems largely due to the colors by Luis Guerrero. They seem to be too digital which I think clashes with the art style of Lee Sullivan. Still, the book is far from ugly , Sullivan seems to have a certain talent for drawing cars which is helpful in a story like this one.

It should be noted that every comic comes with a bit of in-universe bonus content. Usually five pages, one is a short ghost story without dialogue that features the cast from the comic, then you have two pages related to the history of a London bridge and it’s neighborhood and two pages on the history of specific cars (issue 1 and 2) or, as in issue 3, the history of the Folly, the institution represented by Grant and Nightingale that keeps all the weird in check. Overall those bonuses are frankly interesting, and if London seems fairly absent from the story it is heavily featured in the bonuses, and clearly come from someone who loves the City of London as much as I do.

The Verdict

So far so good. The story is captivating and the cast of characters diverse and attaching. I’m looking forward to read what happens next. The universe of the books is definitely present in the comic but indeed suffers from a lack of space to really set the mood the books have. And while I am not loving the art it does not distract from the story. It gets the job done in the end.

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