‘Rivers of London: Night Witch #1’ Wizards, Witches, and Detectives? Yes Please!

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RoL_Nightwitch_Cover_A-Paul-McCaffreyRivers of London: Night Witch #1

Story by: Ben Aaronovitch – Andrew Cartmel

Art By: Lee Sullivan

Don’t be intimidated if you’re new to the series; even though I jumped in blindly at issue #1 of this brand new arc, I had an easy time following the story. In Rivers of London the world of magic is very much involved with the modern; you have two very different worlds co-existing in the same setting, which makes for very interesting story telling. Ben Aaronovitch co-writes alongside Andrew Cartmel; both are very accomplished and talented writers. In this book, Peter Grant and his partner Thomas Nightingale are both wizard detectives in London. They try to figure out why a group of Russians tried to kidnap Varvara Tamonina, who also happens to be a witch.

Starting with the art. Lee Sullivan’s artwork is reminiscent of Steve Dillon, the prolific artist who worked on Wolverine: Origins issues #1-25. Just like Dillon, Lee’s very good at drawing faces and capturing expressions. Which is something that’s surprisingly lacking; so many top publishers put out sub par work. Nailing expressions without making the characters look and feel unnatural is a very difficult thing to do, it’s tempting for an artist to cut corners when drawing.

Lee’s art brings the characters to life. There are great close-ups in the panels, and the mood and tone was always presented with clarity. I suggest looking up Lee Sullivan’s website; he does storyboards for television and film, and that makes a lot of sense given his stylistic choices in his comic book work. While reading Rivers of London, I definitely noticed that the art had a certain flow that reminded me more of film and less of a traditional comic book. Lastly, the cover is really cool. I like the Soviet mural look it has.

Rivers of London has a very interesting premise; I’m a total sucker for detective stories and this book is chock full of all the drama, mystery, and action I love in the genre. This series features the arcane prominently as well, which is a huge bonus. I’m certainly bummed I’d never encountered this book prior, and I can’t wait to track down the back issues. There are a lot of characters that are introduced early on, but the writers do a good job with balancing the many roles and making the characters distinct from one another. The pacing in the story is fluid; Rivers of London: Night Witch #1 doesn’t spend time on filler or giant splash pages. From front to back you’re given your money’s worth.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book is the history montage they do in the middle of the book. The writers do a good job of bringing the reader up to speed on some critical events that happened in Russia towards the end of the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of Vladimir Putin. At the end of the issue you definitely notice there are some loose ends, by the end though you see them starting to tie back together. The story has places to go, and I can’t wait to see where they’re going to take it.


Rivers of London: Night Witch #1
  • 8.5/10
    Story - 8.5/10
  • 8/10
    Art - 8/10

The Verdict

The story has places to go, and I can’t wait to see where they’re going to take it.

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