Writers: Ben Aaronovitch, Andrew Cartmel
Artist: Lee Sullivan and Mariano Laclaustra
Colour By Paulina Vassileva & Color-Ice
Letters: Rob Steen
Additional Strips Written by Celeste Bronfman with art by Iolanda Zanfardino
Publisher: Titan Comics
Out: Now (Released 8th December 2020)
The Book: Trouble never lies far from the race track. When a flash car belonging to a young boy racer from England washes up in the Netherlands with a bagload of unusual cargo, it’s evident there is more than meets the eye happening at street races held in an Essex car park.
Enter Detective Inspector Peter Grant, trainee wizard. Fresh from suspension, he takes to the track in his orange ‘asbo’ Ford Focus to try and infiltrate the big leagues. But Peter soon finds himself sucked back into an Otherworld – a real-life fairyland!
The Review: The Rivers of London saga has been rattling around at a fair pace since 2011, first as a brilliant series of award-winning fantasy meets police procedural novels by Ben Aaronovitch, followed by several comic mini-series that began with Body Work in 2015, written with Andrew Cartmel.
The Fey and the Furious is the latest collection, set after the novel Lies Sleeping, melding the worlds of the faerie with illegal street racing – and other sinister activity, but to reveal what in part would spoil the story, so we won’t go there.
With echoes of the very first comic series Body Work and a more obvious nod to Fast and the Furious, but set in leafy London suburbia, both departing series artist Lee Sullivan and incoming artist Mariano Laclaustra successfully combine fast cars with fantasy. The story also continues to further build the rich and intriguing Rivers of London mythos, giving us a teasing look at a Dutch paranormal team, although short of investigating the initial mystery prove little more than window dressing in this adventure.
(Presumably, we may see more of them in future. I’m a bit behind on my Rivers of London novel reading, so apologies to fans if we already have).
The Fey and the Furious also hints at things to come for Peter Grant and company, although separating him from pregnant river goddess Beverley Brook means we don’t get embroiled in too many continuity references to interrupt the story.
The change of artist after the first issue of this series isn’t too much of a jar, without wishing to sound unappreciative of Lee Sullivan’s fine work on this series from its inception. The change happens as the action moves from the real to the fantasy faerie world, and while I would have liked the fantasy dimension to have been a little weirder in its construct, there are some fun touches to it – as well as some macabre, vital to the story.
Overall, The Fey and the Furious is an entertaining yarn and an enjoyable foray into the world of Peter Grant. However, like some of the previous comic stories, such as Cry Fox, I did come away feeling that, unlike the Rivers of London novels, there is a lack of threat to the central characters, which rather dilutes its impact.
It’s also a shame that fine characters like the mysterious Nightingale seemed rather sidelined, a reflection of the growing cast of characters in the series vying for the limelight. There’s also an inexplicable sequence introducing one intriguing character “on the road”, who serves to introduce Peter to the odd faerie dimension, then simply vanishes from the narrative, which seemed rather weird. Perhaps I’m missing the reference.
If you’re a Rivers of London fan, you’ll enjoy The Fey and the Furious which, in the main, I did. If you’re new to the saga, then you might be able to pick this up and enjoy it as an introduction to the world, which may, at some point, also springboard into a TV series.
With additional material introducing Peter Grant and his world, plus the inclusion of features by editor Kirsten Murray on street racing and faerie legend that ran in the original comics, Titan make this a well-rounded collection.
Oh, and I really like the brief nod to Dastardly and Muttley. Those hapless racers need their own strip!
• Rivers of London Volume 8:The Fey and the Furious is available now from all good book and comic shops and from AmazonUK here (Affiliate Link)
This Review is part of the Rivers of London: Fey and the Furious Blog Tour…
The Rivers of London series is an international phenomenon, with a TV series planned from Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s production company.
Rivers of London: A Reader Guide…
• For more information about Titan Comics visit: titan-comics.com
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.