Rivers of London: Body Work can be described as both an adaption and an original work. Writer, Ben Aaronovitch has published five novels of his urban fantasy meets police procedural series variously described as “True Blood” meets “Law and Order”; or, for the true Anglophiles, “Luther” set in the universe of “Harry Potter.” Aaronovitch is a veteran television writer with credits on the classic science fiction series “Dr. Who”, as well as, the long running BBC medical drama “Casualty” and the science fiction series “Jupiter Moon”.
This not an adaption of a previously written novel, it is an original work written exclusively for the comic book and is considered part of the Rivers of London series cannon. The central concept is that the London Metropolitan Police has a small department that investigates supernatural crimes. The department is only two people: Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last officially sanctioned wizard in England; and, the first English apprentice wizard in 70 years, Police Constable Peter Grant.
ROL: Body Work doesn’t waste time with backstory, rather, it launches directly into the narrative and trusts the reader to keep up. There isn’t much of a learning curve, because the protagonists are fully developed and the police procedural framework is a very familiar trope to most audiences. The first few pages establishes the world of ROL and the plot unfolds at satisfying pace.
Artist Lee Sullivan, chooses to use a detailed realist rendering that lends itself to the tone and style of the story. The art is functional and compelling without being a distraction, as is often the case in comic books that deal with supernatural subjects. Sullivan’s art attempts to mirror the seriousness of the story setting.
Rivers of London: Body Work, is a fine introduction to the work of Ben Aaronovitch for unfamiliar readers and a fun return to beloved characters for fans of his work.
Rivers of London #1: Body Work written by Ben Aaronovitch, art by Lee Sullivan. Published March 02, 2016.
Review by Euell Thomas.