Titan Comics 2016
Written by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel
Illustrated by Lee Sullivan
Coloured by Luis Guerrero
Lettered by Rob Steen
London’s finest wizarding policeman, PC Peter Grant, finds himself with an interesting case on his hands. His colleague, Muslim ninja and possible trusty sidekick, Sahra Guleed, has discovered a mould problem in the house of a friend. But what at first seems just a virulent fungus takes a far darker turn when the mould attacks Guleed, piquing Peter’s interest and suggesting something far more dangerous…
I have to say there’s something original and interesting about these stories that blend the worlds of the strange and the mundane extremely well. That Ben and Andrew showcase as much of the legwork that they do, hence the mundane part, in such a reasonable and natural manner it makes this seem more like it should take it’s place among the best that British crime drama has to offer. The added magical or supernatural nature of the case just makes things that much more interesting. For instance this Black Mould that they are investigating can’t just be something that’s come naturally, or can it.
Throughout the story the fact that as a reader I am thinking who can be behind this Black Mould to have enabled it to do what it does means that they are doing something right. While it wouldn’t be unheard of for something to take on a life of it’s own sentient Black Mould that targets its victims this way would more naturally be something that would be directed by someone else who has an axe to grind. Sometimes you want your mind to be engaged in ways like this does.
Lee and Luis do some incredible work on the interiors here. I love the attention to detail in the characters, as well as the backgrounds which are spectacularly done. There’s a piece of artwork hanging on the wall and it’s eye catching in ways that show off some real imagination and creativity. The use of page layouts through angles and perspective are wonderfully done and control the flow of the book nicely. There’s a real sense of comic book realism happening on these pages that really help transcend the story from average to extraordinary.
There’s this subtle way the story progresses here that says there are a certain type of people being targeted. It’s noticed and important but we’re still left wondering how and why. So it’s one of those things that keeps you coming back for more. Not only do they engage the reader with the quality of characterisation and storytelling but the whole idea behind it still remains elusive. It’s this that makes things fascinating to uncover alongside Peter and Sahra.
Creative, inventive with excellent characters, characterisation wrapped around solid interiors this is the kind of detective story that will keep you guessing until the end.