In Royal City #14 from Image Comics, creator Jeff Lemire brings the story of Royal City and the Pike family to an emotional close with the final issue of this Eisner nominated series.
Royal City #14
Written and Drawn by Jeff Lemire
Published by: Image Comics
The critically acclaimed, multi-generational saga of the Pike family comes to its conclusion as the ghosts of the past catch up to them and point the Pike Family toward an unexpected future.
Royal City ends much the same way it begins; quietly. But as has been the case with this excellent title from the beginning, it’s a deceptive and subtle kind of quiet because this has been a comic book series that from the very the start has spoken to readers in hushed tones that land much louder inside the head and heart.
This issue specifically is a masterclass in bringing a story to an end. Lemire gives each of the Pike family members (and the town itself really) emotional closure in scenes that sometimes run just a few panels with ‘simple’ images; two people sitting and barely talking, a building being demolished. Yet so strong is the storytelling here that brevity is part of the reason it packs such a punch. This is a writer/artist who does more with a few pen strokes than others do with a plethora of word balloons.
The art is also on par with the writing. Lemire’s line work, like his writing, lands more on the subtle side. This has never been a book that depends on flash or gimmicks with its art. This final chapter has some of the most gorgeous panels in the whole run, and you will find yourself lingering over these images as much as you will find the images lingering in your head.
Royal City‘s legacy will be a quiet one, but no less important. Jeff Lemire is a creator who has had a huge impact on comics with many of his great mainstream superhero work. But Royal City can easily sit next to some of the creator’s early works as a career highlight. You can put this book next to Essex County, Underwater Welder, and Sweet Tooth as classic works from a master artist.
Much like Lemire, I am a big music fan. Music was a big part of this book (Lemire always included playlists at the end) and I always listened to specific bands when reading Royal City. Here is a bit of a personal band playlist. Look them up. Hope you give them a listen.
Neutral Milk Hotel