Comic Rewind: Royal City Vol. 1

After a man has a stroke his family comes together and the dysfunction comes out in Royal City Vol. 1.

Peter Pike wakes up in the middle of the night to get a snack.  This leads he and his wife, Patti, to have a fight. Peter goes to the shed so he can eat his potato salad in peace.

The shed is filled with radios because Peter collects and works on old radios.  While messing with one he hears a familiar voice call out to him from the radio.  The voice is of his dead son Tommy and when he calls back out to Tommy he has the stroke.

Peter is in the hospital in a coma.  He is not in any immediate danger and is stable, but anything can happen.  This event brings his family together and even brings in one son from the big city.

We get a glimpse into the life of each child and the wife.  What is interesting is each family member has a person named Tommy in their life.  It turns out everyone sees the dead Tommy and speaks to him. It also looks like they have been for some time.  However, everyone sees him at a different age and a different persona.

Tommy is a drug buddy, a pastor, a child muse and a loving little brother.  Everyone sees a different point of his past or a possible future. Tommy is an idealized person and who they would have liked him to develop into if he was alive.

Royal City Vol. 1 was written and drawn by Jeff Lemire.  Image Comics published the volume in 2017.

This comic is so incredibly slow.  I think this would be a perfect story to tell on a TV show over a season.  However, as a comic book it is just too slow. I need more substance in my comics than this has to offer.

The overall story is not uninteresting, but it just unfolds way too slow.  It took five issues to tell an arc which should have been crammed into two maybe three issues.  I found myself losing interest a lot.

A problem I always seem to struggle with when I read a Lemire comic is the art.  He likes to draw his own comics. However, his art style is pretty divisive. Some people love it and some hate it.  I am always on the hate it side.

Lemire has a watercolor style.  He sometimes keeps the colors really tight and don’t bleed over at all and over times they bleed over a lot.  This volume is right in the middle. His character designs are always a little grotesque as well. They are always a little out of proportion and unrealistic.  I didn’t hate the art, but I did dislike it. It is just my personal preference.

One thing I can always count on Lemire to do is write a very competent story.  His comics always make sense and have a clear direction. The problems come in the time it takes to get me invested in the story.  I loved his Animal Man and read the entire run over a couple of days.  It was impossible to put down.

When his stuff works for me I absolutely love it.  This is why I always give his stuff a chance.

The volume was just too slow for me and for that I have to mark it down.  Art in the volume didn’t really like, but it is a style and I can’t mark him down for that.

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