Royal City, Vol. 1
In his most ambitious and most personal project to date, JEFF LEMIRE spins the captivating and engaging story of a family from the small factory town of ROYAL CITY and the ghosts that haunt them. In a return to the literary and thematic territory of Lemire's breakthrough graphic novel ESSEX COUNTY, ROYAL CITY follows Patrick Pike, a fading literary star who reluctantly returns to the once-thriving factory town where he grew up. Patrick is quickly drawn back into the dramas of his two adult siblings, his overbearing Mother and his brow beaten Father, all of whom are still haunted by different versions of his youngest brother, Tommy, who drowned decades ago. As each member of the family struggles to keep themselves above water, it quickly becomes clear that Tommy's death isn't the only dark secret tearing the town, and this family, apart at the seams. Can each member of the Pike family come to terms with their own guilt over Tommy's death, and make peace with the many versions of Tommy that still haunt them, or will they all be dragged down below the river along with his lingering ghost? ROYAL CITY promises to be a sprawling, serialized graphic novel that will chart the lives, loves and losses of a troubled family and a vanishing town, across three decades. Jeff Lemire is the creator of DESCENDER (with DUSTIN NGUYEN), AD: AFTER DEATH (with SCOTT SNYDER), ROUGHNECK, SECRET PATH (with Gord Downie), PLUTONA (with EMI LENNOX), ESSEX COUNTY, SWEET TOOTH, TRILLIUM, and THE UNDERWATER WELDER. He had also written celebrated stories featuring Green Arrow, Animal Man, Bloodshot, Wolverine, Hawkeye, Teen Titans, the Valiant, the X-Men and Inhumans for the major comic book publishers. Collecting issues 1 through 5.

Royal City, Vol. 1 Details

TitleRoyal City, Vol. 1
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 3rd, 2017
PublisherImage Comics
ISBN-139781534302624
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Comics, Fiction, Comic Book

Royal City, Vol. 1 Review

  • Sam Quixote
    January 1, 1970
    The fractured Pike family are brought back together to the dying industrial town of Royal City when the elderly patriarch, Peter, suffers a stroke. But they also have another shared commonality: dead Tommy Pike, drowned at age 14, who haunts each of the family in his own way. In this time of crisis, the family must finally confront their dark past. But is Tommy somehow still alive…? Jeff Lemire’s new Image ongoing, Royal City, is being sold as a sequel of sorts to his critically acclaimed modern The fractured Pike family are brought back together to the dying industrial town of Royal City when the elderly patriarch, Peter, suffers a stroke. But they also have another shared commonality: dead Tommy Pike, drowned at age 14, who haunts each of the family in his own way. In this time of crisis, the family must finally confront their dark past. But is Tommy somehow still alive…? Jeff Lemire’s new Image ongoing, Royal City, is being sold as a sequel of sorts to his critically acclaimed modern masterpiece, Essex County. Ehhh… no! It’s not nearly as good but it’s not bad either. Lemire does a fine job of introducing the familial cast: Pat the frustrated novelist, struggling to follow up his bestselling first book; his little brother, Richie, the drunk fuckup; Tara, his sister and local businesswoman attempting to rejuvenate Royal City’s faded glory; and Patti, the matriarch, bitter, sad, and with secrets of her own. We get a strong sense of each character and they all get a decent storyline. I also liked the supernatural Tommy element. You don’t exactly know whether Tommy’s real or not - is he a metaphor for the family’s guilt/trauma or is he a ghost? - or what happened to him way back when, so it’s a consistently intriguing aspect of the story. Rather than Essex County, Royal City reads more like Lemire’s more recent Dark Horse series Black Hammer, in that the story is heavily soap opera-cheesy. There wasn’t enough going on for me story-wise to say I loved reading it and what was going on had me rolling my eyes: the affairs, troubled marriages galore, the forced drama between siblings, particularly the resentment between Pat and Richie. And that pseudo-cliffhanger final page - I could practically hear the opening drums to the Eastenders theme tune! I don’t know why Lemire’s currently fixated on this hokey family saga crap or whether he’s just not that good at executing the sort of drama he’s aiming for, but I wasn’t taken with what he did here (or in Black Hammer either). Art-wise, Lemire’s settled into a comfortable groove where he’s not doing anything different from his usual style. It looks like it’s always looked but his colours this time around are a bit more vibrant and interesting. Don’t get me wrong: the first volume of Royal City is perfectly readable and held my attention, it’s just that the overall effect isn’t that impressive, memorable or unique, and the Essex County comparison really doesn’t help either. Underwhelming, slightly unsatisfying, but mostly ok, don’t expect too much from Royal City.
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  • Mad Tom
    January 1, 1970
    Dark, tender, and brilliant, Royal City embodies the soul of tragedy and regret among family. The story delves into the bitter drama and dark past of this family. Each is dealing with demons of their own: failure, divorce, infertility, addiction, loneliness, cynicism. And they are all haunted by the year 1993. What’s apparent is Lemire’s self-awareness, reflecting upon his own life, his successes and failures, and his own mortality. It’s about childhood and the existential pains of growing up, d Dark, tender, and brilliant, Royal City embodies the soul of tragedy and regret among family. The story delves into the bitter drama and dark past of this family. Each is dealing with demons of their own: failure, divorce, infertility, addiction, loneliness, cynicism. And they are all haunted by the year 1993. What’s apparent is Lemire’s self-awareness, reflecting upon his own life, his successes and failures, and his own mortality. It’s about childhood and the existential pains of growing up, death and the way that death takes on a life of its own. Don’t deny yourself a deep and introspective reading experience because of dark subject matter. This may be Lemire’s best indie work yet. As usual, the artwork borders on the surreal, with the subtle watercolors and painterly lines. Lemire really seems to have mastered his own style: cartoony and stylized, yet emotive and immersive. It’s like reading Saturday comics, which I’ve said before, but they’re so powerful and sparse they could make you cry. And I really mean that. Don’t pass this up. While Lemire has a distinct and unusual art style, and a somewhat melancholic, introspective writing style, it’s smart, different, and better than his already great other works.
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  • James DeSantis
    January 1, 1970
    Sometimes I read comics to go on huge fantasies. Sometimes I read them to be in the boots of a superhero. And SOMETIMES I read them to get a bit of slice of life stories. Sometimes I can't connect but I'm glad to say Royal City hits all the right marks. Royal City is really about a shitty little town that connects a family in different ways. Patrick is the "main" character, and I say main because his whole family gets a good amount of character development, and he comes back to town after his fa Sometimes I read comics to go on huge fantasies. Sometimes I read them to be in the boots of a superhero. And SOMETIMES I read them to get a bit of slice of life stories. Sometimes I can't connect but I'm glad to say Royal City hits all the right marks. Royal City is really about a shitty little town that connects a family in different ways. Patrick is the "main" character, and I say main because his whole family gets a good amount of character development, and he comes back to town after his father has a stroke. See, each member of the family sees their little brother Tommy in different forms. Forms they remember him best by and they all talk to him as if he was there. At first it's slightly jarring but once you get into what each family member is dealing with it all makes sense. Good: I fucking LOVED Patrick. His internal struggle + conversations with everyone came off so well done I can't help but connect. Especially since he's a writer and he's stuck on what to actually write. So true. Also, love the sister in here and her fight with her husband was near perfect. The mom storyline is also tragic and watching her slowly breakdown is cry worthy. Bad: I didn't love the last family member's storyline. Just a typical fuck up who owes some local gang money and now is in trouble. I just couldn't connect to this one character. Overall Royal City hits on almost every note. To have multiple interesting characters and pick up steam as it goes really is something special. I hope this series continues to be as good as it started. A 4 out of 5!
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  • Artemy
    January 1, 1970
    A new indie comic written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire is always a good thing in my book. He may be a big shot superhero comics writer nowadays, but his more grounded, down to earth indie comics were always his best, and I'm happy to say that Royal City is a welcome return to form. It doesn't quite match the emotional peaks of the brilliant Essex County, but is still a very good story in its own way. Recommended to anyone who's into family dramas and complicated relationships, and of course to A new indie comic written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire is always a good thing in my book. He may be a big shot superhero comics writer nowadays, but his more grounded, down to earth indie comics were always his best, and I'm happy to say that Royal City is a welcome return to form. It doesn't quite match the emotional peaks of the brilliant Essex County, but is still a very good story in its own way. Recommended to anyone who's into family dramas and complicated relationships, and of course to every fan of Lemire's books like Essex County, Underwater Welder and The Nobody.
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  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Not a terrible series by any means but I just found the whole thing kind of depressing and uncomfortable to read. Individual issue reviews: #1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5Total review score: 2.4
  • Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
    January 1, 1970
    This was like a gritty mildly depressing family soap opera. The beginning was slightly confusing, especially since I didn't fully read the synopsis, but the more I read the more I started to enjoy it and I love the illustration style."I'm at the point where I've stopped thinking about who I can be and started to realize that this is who I am.Let's face it, I'm nothing. I'm a fraud, a pretender."
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  • Chad
    January 1, 1970
    Jeff Lemire returns to his more introspective roots. The story of a family whose patriarch has a stroke. Each family member's life is falling apart and they've never fully recovered from their youngest brother dying years ago. They all still talk to him and see him as they viewed him years ago. I wasn't the biggest fan of the depressing subject matter.Received an advance copy from Image and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Scott (GrilledCheeseSamurai)
    January 1, 1970
    This isn't a happy and funny comic. There are no superheroes nor is there any global threat or space invasion of any kind. There are no monsters, mutants, vibranium or adamantium. there are, however, villains. Bad people. People you wouldn't want to trust or even get to know.Royal City is an everyday comic story. What some would call, Slice Of Life. It is a drama revolving around a fucked up family in a place called Royal City.Jeff Lemire has written (and is writing) some fantastic stuff...the g This isn't a happy and funny comic. There are no superheroes nor is there any global threat or space invasion of any kind. There are no monsters, mutants, vibranium or adamantium. there are, however, villains. Bad people. People you wouldn't want to trust or even get to know.Royal City is an everyday comic story. What some would call, Slice Of Life. It is a drama revolving around a fucked up family in a place called Royal City.Jeff Lemire has written (and is writing) some fantastic stuff...the guy is a machine that is working on so many projects right now that I can't keep track of everything he is up to these days.Royal City, for me, is classic Lemire. I love Descender #1 and Black Hammer #1 but this book is more reminiscent of Lemire's older work like Essex County or his new graphic novel, Roughneck. It is a story about normal people dealing with normal problems. It's sad, it can be depressing, and it can wear you down with the realization of how people can be right fucking assholes sometimes.But you know what? It's freaking fabulous. It's real life - and while I most certainly read to escape real life...sometimes it can be pretty darn entertaining to take a peek at how shitty someone else's life is - which in turn can make you feel a little bit better with your own current lot in things.Royal City is definitely a comic I look forward to reading each and every month and now that the book is on break until October it means that there is a trade coming out sometime soon. If you haven't yet read this and are interested...now is the time to jump on board.
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  • Eleni (OverThePlace)
    January 1, 1970
    Τον Jeff Lemire γνώρισα μέσα από το Essex County, ένα ασπρόμαυρο λιγομίλητο saga μιας οικογένειας με φόντο τον άγριο τόπο του Καναδά. Τον ξανασυνάντησα (και λάτρεψα) με το Sweet Tooth, ένα από τα καλύτερα και πιο σκοτεινά dystopian stories που έχω διαβάσει ποτέ, και τώρα, μετά από τόσα χρόνια που αφιέρωσε σε σουπερηρωικά comics, επέστρεψε και πάλι με μία βαθιά προσωπική ιστορία, το Royal City. Παρέα με την Image, δημιούργησε (γράφοντας και σχεδιάζοντας) ένα serialised comic για την οικογένεια τω Τον Jeff Lemire γνώρισα μέσα από το Essex County, ένα ασπρόμαυρο λιγομίλητο saga μιας οικογένειας με φόντο τον άγριο τόπο του Καναδά. Τον ξανασυνάντησα (και λάτρεψα) με το Sweet Tooth, ένα από τα καλύτερα και πιο σκοτεινά dystopian stories που έχω διαβάσει ποτέ, και τώρα, μετά από τόσα χρόνια που αφιέρωσε σε σουπερηρωικά comics, επέστρεψε και πάλι με μία βαθιά προσωπική ιστορία, το Royal City. Παρέα με την Image, δημιούργησε (γράφοντας και σχεδιάζοντας) ένα serialised comic για την οικογένεια των Pike. Ένα δράμα, με paranormal στοιχεία αλλά κυρίως ανθρώπινα, για την απώλεια και τα απωθημένα. Είναι υπέροχο. Μπορείς να διαβάσεις τα πέντε πρώτα τεύχη που έχουν κυκλοφορήσει ή να περιμένεις τον τόμο που θα φτάσει αυτό τον Οκτώβριο. Ανυπομονώ για τη συνέχεια...
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  • Chris Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    This is somewhere between realism and magical realism. Those expecting action and violence in their comics will be disappointed, but those looking for a thoughtful look into a family's life after they're struck by near tragedy will find this engrossing. The near tragedy is the father suffering a stroke, but the family is marked by another tragedy in the past, with the death of Thomas, or Tommy, a younger brother. Tommy haunts every single family member in some shape or form. Everyone sees him di This is somewhere between realism and magical realism. Those expecting action and violence in their comics will be disappointed, but those looking for a thoughtful look into a family's life after they're struck by near tragedy will find this engrossing. The near tragedy is the father suffering a stroke, but the family is marked by another tragedy in the past, with the death of Thomas, or Tommy, a younger brother. Tommy haunts every single family member in some shape or form. Everyone sees him differently, the mother seeing him as a young boy, the alcoholic brother seeing him as a young man. Tommy speaks to them as if he is really there, but only they can see and hear and talk to him. Is Tommy real, then? Reading this book makes me think of reading a mix of Jonathan Franzen and Gabriel Garcia Marquez - real, haunting, and sometimes funny.
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  • Norman
    January 1, 1970
    Phew that last issue resembled a final one. Thought this story was a limited series. So glad it isn't. I do wish these would come out faster, but that's eishing for the impossible. Lemire's got a lot on his plate. Overall a very haunting story about a family. Dysfunctional by its separatedness, and connected via a dead kid brother. Lots left to the imagination and interpretation. Great comics format usage - Lemire's absolute forte is his self-drawn original stories. I can't stand his $$$ writing Phew that last issue resembled a final one. Thought this story was a limited series. So glad it isn't. I do wish these would come out faster, but that's eishing for the impossible. Lemire's got a lot on his plate. Overall a very haunting story about a family. Dysfunctional by its separatedness, and connected via a dead kid brother. Lots left to the imagination and interpretation. Great comics format usage - Lemire's absolute forte is his self-drawn original stories. I can't stand his $$$ writing, but these user-created ones have so much more obvious passion and love.
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  • Alex Sarll
    January 1, 1970
    “I swear you can feel it late at night, a weirdness creeping around the edges of things.”An old man’s stroke brings his fractured family back together in a fading industrial nowhere town – exactly the sort of material which tends to make mediocre novels and worse plays. But filtered through the shabby, battered lines and wan watercolour light of Jeff Lemire’s art, it sings. It helps, of course, that comics – especially in this style – have a whole barrage of effects for blurring the line of what “I swear you can feel it late at night, a weirdness creeping around the edges of things.”An old man’s stroke brings his fractured family back together in a fading industrial nowhere town – exactly the sort of material which tends to make mediocre novels and worse plays. But filtered through the shabby, battered lines and wan watercolour light of Jeff Lemire’s art, it sings. It helps, of course, that comics – especially in this style – have a whole barrage of effects for blurring the line of what is and isn’t hallucination. So the sick man is in a version of Royal City where giant versions of the antique radios he collects take the place of the dilapidated factories and smoky chimneys – and each member of the family is haunted by a different version of Tommy, the child who died in 1993. To bitter fuck-up Richie, he’s the ornery enabler of late nights and bad decisions; to ambitious, unhappily childless Tara, forever the kid she babysat. To their pious mum, he’s the dutiful boy who’ll pray with her, and to Pat, the blocked novelist who got away from Royal…well, that one might be telling. Pat doesn’t dominate, but as the returned prodigal he does feel like the spine of the story. Or maybe that’s just my own inclination given his musings on middle age and my own staring down the barrel of 40. I mean, I’m in a far better place than him in a lot of ways, but I think at 39 3/4 anyone’s going to wince a little at the line “How old is too old to start over? At what point does all the shit I’ve done weigh me down so much I can’t move forward anymore?”(Edelweiss ARC)
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  • Shawn Birss
    January 1, 1970
    This first arc of Lemire's new creator-owned Image series is quintessentially his. This is Essex County 2017, with an artist and writer both matured and experienced. It is absolutely worth reading, one of my favourite titles on the shelf right now. The series is taking a break until October. I highly recommend finding this first five issues or the trade and jumping aboard for the monthlies. It is a long form story, but written in such a slow and thoughtful way as to read really well in single is This first arc of Lemire's new creator-owned Image series is quintessentially his. This is Essex County 2017, with an artist and writer both matured and experienced. It is absolutely worth reading, one of my favourite titles on the shelf right now. The series is taking a break until October. I highly recommend finding this first five issues or the trade and jumping aboard for the monthlies. It is a long form story, but written in such a slow and thoughtful way as to read really well in single issues. Also, each issue comes with a Spotify playlist by Jeff Lemire, making the experience even more thoughtful and immersive. Please read on for my issue-by-issue thoughts. ++Issue 1I read this comic. Then, I read it again. Jeff Lemire's new solo creative project, the continuing monthly series Royal City, debuts with a dramatic, realistic, moving, honest story of a broken family in a small factory town. His writing is intelligent, perfectly timed, and colourful in all the right ways to introduce every member of this family and their relationships to each other. I don't want to spoil the ending, but it hit hard, and made me start the whole issue over to fully experience what I had just read as revealed by the last pages. This is a must read for fans of Jeff Lemire. This first issue brings us right back to his roots, to stories like the ones he first wrote, set in Essex County. This is family, and culture, history, and hurt. It's so real. And his full colour, fully watercolour painted illustrations tell the story in perfect harmony to his dialogue. I love comics as a collaborative medium, but this one just screams with its singular vision. This is pure Lemire, with twelve years of experience behind him since the critically acclaimed and award winning Essex County. This is experimental and bold, yet grounded and real. If you liked Essex County, if you are enjoying A.D. by Lemire and Snyder, if you liked Descender, but would also love something more down-to-earth, this is your new favourite comic book.Issue 2Sneaky Mr. Lemire. A certain page of this book suddenly made me wonder if he was surprising us all by taking us from Essex County territory into Trillium territory. It was a fake-out. Very cute. This book is pure realism and humanity. Issue 3This book is heart wrenching and beautiful. Issue 4Jeff Lemire makes me feel. His illustrations are so expressive. His characters are rendered far more realistically than realism. Also, between AD and this series, he seems to be the comics writer most successfully playing the part of brain dealing with major life transition, death, and aging in 2017. Good stuff. Issue 5What a perfect conclusion. And surprisingly, he keeps me wanting to read the monthlies, too.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    *Galley received from Image*I'd say that it's not fair for one man to have this much talent, but I guess I can't complain because it means I get to keep reading Lemire's work.Continuing a run of excellent creative projects from Lemire, "Royal City" offers a solemn view of an estranged family, a city in crisis, and the ghosts that haunt them all. Dark, thoughtful, and achingly human, Lemire captures the changes, aspirations, and regrets of these characters brought together by a medical crisis. As *Galley received from Image*I'd say that it's not fair for one man to have this much talent, but I guess I can't complain because it means I get to keep reading Lemire's work.Continuing a run of excellent creative projects from Lemire, "Royal City" offers a solemn view of an estranged family, a city in crisis, and the ghosts that haunt them all. Dark, thoughtful, and achingly human, Lemire captures the changes, aspirations, and regrets of these characters brought together by a medical crisis. As they battle through their own conflicts and face off against each other, everything they say and do is overshadowed by the memory of a life lost years before.Haunting, beautiful, tragic, and slightly surreal, "Royal City" begins a series that dives into some of dark, rough places of human experience - but places that seem all-too familiar. The work is insightful, engaging, and comes together well from start to finish. It's a powerful book deployed with skill, intelligence, and a very human heart.
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  • Jamie Connolly
    January 1, 1970
    Holy crap was that depressing. I guess I knew that going in because Jeff Lemire and everything. But geez. And also he's got such a way of pulling you in that you really feel the story. An extraordinary talent for a writer to have but boy, when he wants you to hurt it really hurts. Interesting story. I'm curious. I'm not looking forward to volume 2. I mean I'm obviously gonna read it but I'm not looking forward to having my whole day ruined. It's like when Sarah McLaughlin comes on for those ASPC Holy crap was that depressing. I guess I knew that going in because Jeff Lemire and everything. But geez. And also he's got such a way of pulling you in that you really feel the story. An extraordinary talent for a writer to have but boy, when he wants you to hurt it really hurts. Interesting story. I'm curious. I'm not looking forward to volume 2. I mean I'm obviously gonna read it but I'm not looking forward to having my whole day ruined. It's like when Sarah McLaughlin comes on for those ASPCA commercials.
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  • Adam M
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting premise and while some of the moves were telegraphed early, there were still some turns that felt earned. I look forward to what comes next in this rather bleak story. Pretty textbook Lemire storytelling and art.
  • Jesse Richards
    January 1, 1970
    Well done but sooo depressing
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