Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London”/PC Peter Grant series continues – and completes, unless he’s planning on returning to this form after The Hanging Tree, which is next, and a standard novel – its dip into the medium of graphic novel with Night Witch, with a very mytharc-y story. Again, sorry if “mytharc” is a thing non-X-Files fans don’t say.
Anyway, because it’s a story that is much more linkable to the overall arc of the series than Body Work was, I much prefer it, if I have to choose a favorite. Because the stakes are so high in the overall arc, I had a hard time with Body Work in believing that Peter Grant and Nightingale were just going to galavant around town with Toby in tow figuring out why there was a haunted car trying to kill people. I mean, great, but what about the REST OF IT.
Here’s the rest of it, and I’m relieved that this wasn’t just a random flight of fancy that Aaronovitch had. If not for Night Witch, I would have felt like blowing off the entire transition to this medium, but this is a very meaty story, indeed.
Or at least, as meaty as the medium will allow. Because there’s the conundrum. Even though Body Work (and sorry for all the comparisons, but since these two are the deviations from the original medium of standard novel, I feel like they must be compared) was a less interesting story, it was a clearer telling, because there’s a lot that gets lost in this more visual form. Yes, we actually get to see the characters at work, but one of the lovely things about the “Rivers of London” series is all of the snarky and full-of-heart narration from Peter Grant. There are panels with narration in these graphic novels, but they are still very short works, and they are by necessity mostly dialogue. That makes them feel a little anemic.
And even though this story is meaty, I think it should have been told at greater length. There was a cramming of information into what must have been a specifically limited number of pages that forced a disservice to the storytelling.
Finally, a quick note that I didn’t include in my review of Body Work: both of these books also have a handful of one-page whimsical vignettes starring various supporting characters. They’re delightful. But, as I did say in that previous review: #notmyMolly.