Comic Book Review: Royal City #3
Jeff Lemire is a creator with a unique vision and a knack for conveying real, human emotion. “Royal City” is no exception to that. “Royal City” #3 goes deeper into the issues of the Pike family and makes for a gripping read from beginning to end.
“Royal City” #3 continues to focus on the Pike family as they deal with external and internal strife after the patriarch of the family has suffered a terrible stroke. He’s still not out of the woods and may not be the same when he wakes up and that has compounded a lot of the problems already existing for the family. Tara is dealing with a few different issues that have made her marriage crumble. Pat and Richie get into things and Pat continues to struggle to make his next book happen.
And then at the center of all of this is the presence of Tommy Pike, the deceased son who appears for everyone of his siblings for different reasons. Tommy has become whatever each person in the family needs or wants and with “Royal City” #3, it becomes no more apparent how reliant each one of them is on him. They are all in the same city, surrounded by family but instead rely on someone who isn’t there. Lemire explores the depth of loss, especially unexpected loss through the lens of sibling relationships. Tara, Pat and Richie lost something that can’t be replaced an are mentally trying to replace that with no success. “Royal City” #3 hits home the loneliness that comes from this but as he does this, Lemire also moves the plot along very nicely. There are stories being told here and there is a desire to see what happens next but these bigger emotions that Lemire is examining can’t be ignored.
Lemire choosing to draw “Royal City” has proven to be a great boost to the series. Lemire’s watercolors add the perfect touch of rust and sort of serenity to this kind of town. The added touch of billowing smoke that Lemire adds really helps transport the reader into a picturesque town with deep secrets and issue lying underneath. It isn’t a worn down town but you can see it struggling. Each of Lemire’s characters have such unique aspects to them visually. They wear their struggles on the outside but in his approach, Lemire isn’t overly obvious. Richie’s struggles with alcohol are shown through his worn down clothing and often times beat up face. Tara’s eyes are full of heartache, anger and downright exhaustion. Pat’s facial hair and look of disillusion help convey the downtrodden writer concept. It’s all great character modeling that does so much storytelling without having to say much.
“Royal City” reads like a one hour television drama and I mean that in the best possible way. I am fascinated by this town, the inhabitants and this family. I get anxious waiting for the next issue because I need to know what happens next. “Royal City” #3 is another excellent issue of this still very young ongoing series with huge potential.