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Royal City #5 Review

Jeff Lemire’s creator owned work finishes its first arc.

Jeff Lemire and Jeff Lemire
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The first story arc of Royal City comes to an end this week and judging by the cover, the father, who has been in a coma since the start, appears to be taking center stage. Will we find out more about these family ghosts? How about some happiness for just one of these family members?

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

END OF STORY ARC: The first story arc of JEFF LEMIRE’s acclaimed new series comes to its shocking conclusion as the secrets of the Pike family are finally exposed, and there will be no going back. Meanwhile, while lying in a coma, Peter Pike goes on a bizarre journey with his life hanging in the balance.

Why does this book matter?

Jeff Lemire’s creator owned work is always deeply meaningful and this series is another to add to that list. The characters are realistic and the way Lemire writes these stories, you can almost claim to know them as it gets intimate.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Dead, but alive!

This issue opens with the father in the hospital, who in the very second panel flatlines and dies. And then, he wakes up. Much of this issue follows him around the town as he visits his family members in the form of a ghost. Tagging along is his son–who has made appearances with many of the children in this series so far–who ends up being a spirit guide of sorts. Lemire uses the father as a ghost to pop around the story and show us what is going on with each of the main characters. It’s effective, allowing him to cut between them all quickly so as to give the reader a sense of where everyone is at before we move on to the next arc in October. Along the way there are some major revelations revealed which will add a whole new layer of drama moving forward.

The art continues to imbue a sense of loss, remembrance, and wistfulness due to the watercolors and Lemire’s unique lines. Like life, it can be dirty, and it doesn’t hide any of the ugliness of these characters.

This is not normal!

It can’t be perfect can it?

Unfortunately this is a very quick read unless you’re a person who lingers on pages with no words. I can’t say it’s a huge detriment, but I did feel like it was over too quickly. It doesn’t help that there’s still no explanation as to what is going on with these ghosts. Maybe we’re to believe ghosts just exist in this storyline and there’s nothing supernatural about it, but that’s just a guess.

I’m still very much interested in who these characters are, though the cliffhanger didn’t leave me in shock or really interested in what it means. How this moment will change the way characters think or feel about each other is unknown and ultimately there’s not enough information to know where it’s going. Is this really that big a deal? Does this change anything? I was left shrugging my shoulders.

Is it good?

A good final issue in the story arc that recaps where the characters are at and adds new wrinkles to play with further when the series comes back in October.

Royal City #5
Is it good?
A good final issue that solidifies the characters and adds reveals that could change everything.
Uses a ghost-mechanic to full effect
Some major revelations are dropped!
Checks in with each character, which works well for the end of the arc
A quick read
The cliffhanger left me cold

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