Royal City by Jeff Lemire (2017)

royal city 11

L: 9/10

M: 8/10

Analysis from a broken crutch, used only for sympathy:

Without knowing, a large portion of my pull list started to have a similar name show up in the credits, Mr. Jeff Lemire. I’d seen the name on some older trades that I would flip through in comic shops but would never fully commit to taking home with me, such as Sweet Tooth, and Essex Country. It wasn’t until he took the reigns of my favorite character, Moon Knight, that I finally picked up on the trend. His work is spread all over the gambit: self-contained universes like the amazing (and soon to be selected for this shitty book club) Black Hammer and A.D. After Death, as well as books for the big two including Animal Man and The Sentry. 

I originally read this series in single-issue form spread out over the better part of two years. I kept up with the story throughout the time lapses but always wanted to go back and consume the whole thing in one or two sittings. The story was at one point planned to be a little longer and perhaps cover a few arcs, but the author notes in the back pages that things changed, and the story evolved into a single arc, a single story with a beginning and an end.

Perhaps that’s what the story is exactly about, endings. The death of a son and sibling sticks with each family member in their own way, imaging the Tommy in different paths of life and possible eras. His sudden death put a bookmark in each member of the Pike family’s story. In order to keep telling their own story, that book needs to be finished, and the lost family member needs to be set free.

Jeff Lemire has an art style that won’t be confused for anyone else, it’s sloppy and rough, and nothing short of beautiful. It soaks into the story and words, any other art simply wouldn’t make the cut. It must be a great feeling to have the exact image you have in mind when writing out the story come to fruition by your own hand.

This is far from the last time we will speak of Jeff Lemire. Looking over my shoulder at my shelf, there are several more picks to come, hopefully, sooner than later. The comic world is in the right direction when an author (and both artist in this case) can tell the stories he/she wants for whomever he/she chooses to tell them to, and through.

Analysis from that one hangnail that seems to get stuck on everything:

I love a good read like this! It was dark, gritty, and completely intriguing. I started off a bit confused, but honestly, that is nothing new for me when it comes to any graphic read. I always feel like I’m coming into it somewhere in the middle. This story, however, plays it’s cards perfectly.

I loved the detail to each character that you just subtly picked up on. The age in which they clung to Tommy said so much about their own mentality. What they each needed from him and how they needed him to exist in their lives in order to have either a purpose, a comrade, validation, or just a weight to remind them of their guilt was delivered so perfectly.

I always love a story that I cannot guess the ending to, and Jeff Lemire finds a way to keep you guessing. There were several plot twists I did not expect, and though there were a few I was not pleased with, I was none the less completely satisfied by the direction he took the story and each character.

I’m greedy and always gluttonous when it comes to good writing, so of course, I want more. I need to know what happens next in each life and how finding out they have a piece of Tommy left will alter their future and how they choose to tackle the world from here on out. I can’t wait to read more from Jeff Lemire. Bring it!

jeff lemire

Jeff Lemire

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