Rivers of London: Action At A Distance #1 is the first issue that mostly follows a past case about Thomas Nightingale from the books series of the same name, by Ben Aaronovitch. This particular mini-series takes place right after the events of The Hanging Tree. We are introduced to Thomas and his trainee Constable Peter Grant, who is the main protagonist for the Rivers of London series.

Strange Deaths

Rivers of London

Thomas finds out about the passing of an old friend of his and decides to leave for the evening; to pay his respects. Peter in this role takes a back seat at the beginning of the issue as he is merely our narrator for the events that transpired between his mentor, Thomas, and Thomas’ old friend, Angus Strallen. Peter pulls out the case file from the Folly Archives and starts reading on behalf of Mr. Nightingale’s request.

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It is clear that Thomas wants Peter to carefully read this case file for a specific reason that isn’t fully developed in this issue but nonetheless, it sets the stage for the time period and how Thomas met Angus. We are then transported to WW2 and follow the tale of Thomas’ exploits during the war and how he first meets his friend. Angus Strallen is a soldier fighting in the war and befriends Thomas when he causes a malfunction to a Nazi fighter plane. During this meeting, he uncovers that Thomas is of a strange sort but has an inkling to an unknown power. This proves to be useful for Mr. Strallen years after the war as he uncovers a murderer who posses the same kind of ability Thomas displayed during the war.

As Peter delves deeper into the case files, it becomes clear that this antagonist is powerful, both in ability and status, for Mr. Strallen to handle. Almost by coincident, he seeks help from Thomas as he passing through in London while tailing his suspect. This case becomes intriguing and follows a format of an old detective soap filled with murder, women, and peril. This story, however, gives too many answers in the beginning and takes a while for the story to get going. It reads like a run of the mill detective case albeit with a small magical twist to it.

The coloring and lettering by Stefani Renne and Rob Steen are great but I did have issues with the art style portrayed by Brian Williamson. Character faces during certain panels seem off and devoid of personality, but they look amazing during certain scenes; especially when Thomas disables the Nazi Pilot’s plane. Fans of the series or readers looking for a noir detective story will enjoy this small glimpse into Thomas Nightingale’s younger years but nothing interesting stands out.

THE GOOD
Noir Detective Story
Coloring and Letters
The Settings
THE BAD
By The Numbers
Bland
Weird Faces
6.5
Fair

Review Summary

Rivers of London: Action At A Distance #1 is a noir detective story about a murderer who targets women. This murderer is able to use strange paranormal abilities and Thomas Nightingale is familiar with the strange and magical as a magician himself. It is up to Thomas and his friend, Angus Strallen, to stop this monster before he harms anyone else. While this first issue is promising and offers great artwork and coloring, the story is bland and feels like any run of the mill detective book from post WW2.

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