Writers: Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel
Art: Lee Sullivan
Wizards working as police, Russian operatives that are actually powerful witches, a distraught couple, and a millionaire megalomaniac. These are just a few of the themes that Titan Comics’s latest title from Ben Aaronovitch: Rivers of London: Night Witch, explores in the debut issue.
*Customary Spoiler Alert Message*
Prison Break Russian Style
Armed men in ski masks are always the best option for a well orchestrated prison transport van abduction. Unfortunately for them, the woman they are after is Varvara Sidorovna Tamonina, and she isn’t having anything to do with their shenanigans. Tamonina was a member of a special Russian Regiment known as the Night Witches, and it isn’t just a cool name. The unfortunate comrade that lays a hand on her ends up losing the whole arm and then some. What do these men want with Tamonina? What did she do to go to prison? These are the questions that a good book sets up for future reading.
A Family In Crisis
The attempted prison break was planned as a means to an end. Ludmila Mikhailovna’s daughter is missing. She believes the girl has been taken by a Leshy, an ancient woodland spirit, and needs Tamonina’s help as a witch to recover her. Ludmila knows of Tamonina’s powers because her mother was a fellow Night Witch; but even confronted face to face, Tamonina still refuses to assist. She does, however, direct Ludmila to one Inspector Nightingale.
On The Case
The continuing protagonists, Inspector Nightingale and PC Peter Grant, are on the case of the prison van heist but only have a blown-off arm on which to go. They know that the prison van break was not the work of the Russian government, but more likely the Russian mob. For what purpose, though? Revenge? Her help on a new venture? Our wizard detectives are on the case.
Authors Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel have penned an interesting debut issue, but in a way the story feels a bit convoluted and rushed – as if they wanted to push as many plot points into the first stanza as possible. I have faith that future installments will run smoother and more focused, based on Aaronovitch’s previous work. Artist Lee Sullivan does a nice job, drawing realistic landscape backdrops that accentuate the characters effectively. A decent start to which I know will be an exciting series.
3 Thermal Blooms out of 5