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Dynamite Entertainment’s latest foray into older properties has resulted in a murder mystery where the hero ends up in a pickle.

Sherlock Holmes #1 starts off with a bang and ends in a locked room mystery, where our hero is the prime suspect.  It begins with a building getting blown up real good in London’s East End, with Dr. Watson reading about the account the next morning in the paper while he travels to his friend and colleague Sherlock Holmes’ house.  Holmes is very keen on the events as he has received a letter from a former assistant commissioner who claims a threat has been made on his life by the very same people claiming responsibility for the East End bombing.  Sir Henry’s letter states he believes he will be murdered at precisely 7:00 PM that evening, and wishes Sherlock Holmes to be there to assist in security.

In addition to this interesting bit of narrative, Baron Albrecht Lothair is also arriving in London under a curtain of secrecy, and my guess is the two plots will intertwine before the story concludes, as this is often how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would dovetail the climactic reveal of the story.  Leah Moore and John Reppion appear to be taking the same approach in this smoking gun mystery, which I like, and shows the two have done their research into the style of writing, characters, and so on.

What is absent are the minor touches that Holmes fans will probably expect, but considering most Holmes scholars probably don’t read comics, I doubt it will be a big deal.  So, if you plan on picking up this issue to see Holmes doing cocaine or doping himself up with morphine, you won’t find it here.

Upon arriving at Sir Henry’s home, they meet with Inspector Lestrade and exchange information about bombings, and Sir Henry’s connection to the case.  Obviously with a threat made on Sir Henry’s life, the house is filled with police and with doors and windows locked, it appears Sir Henry will not die as stated in the threatening letter.  However, when the fateful moment arrives, Holmes is called to  Sir Henry’s room, and promptly at 7:00 a gunshot is heard, and when Watson, Lestrade, and the police break down the door, they find him dead, with Holmes holding the smoking gun.

Thus the locked room murder mystery kicks off as Holmes is lead away to jail, with Lestrade and Watson left to pick up the pieces.

Often I can follow the hints and clues left by most mystery writers, but I’ve always had a bit of problem with how Holmes arrived at his conclusions and discovers.  Likewise, this issue had a few points and moments that I had to reread a couple of times to make sure I knew who the players were and how they were (or weren’t) connected. That’s not saying the writing is bad, because Moore and Reppion have done an excellent job in setting up the first act of the story, it just might be a good idea for other readers to reread a panel or two in order to get the most out of the story.

It will be interesting to see how Holmes solves this murder, and how Watson is able to assist, especially when the two won’t be able to interact that often to share information.  I’m particularly keen to find out how Moore and Reppion plan to incorporate Moriarty into the story, and if he was actually the one in the room when Holmes entered.   One bit of information that leads me down that path is that Sir Henry wouldn’t accept visitors all day, due to his ailing health, with Holmes and his housekeeper being the only people seeing before his death.

I find it interesting that readers might draw parallels between the Mad Bombers of the 1890’s and terrorists of today, and how the two are viewed in society in their given time periods.   There should also be some interesting moments as readers get a glimpse into the penal  system of the time, and how drastically different it is from today.  For me, the most interesting aspect of this mystery will be the role technology plays in solving the mystery.  Scotland Yard just can’t whip out their cameras and swabs and take everything to the crime lab to figure out whodunit, so this series will need to rely heavily in the words and phrases being dropped and careful attention being paid to the visual elements in the panels.

i did have some concern with the art.  I do realize the dress and grooming of the time period meant most men looked a great deal alike in their plain clothing of brown or black and handlebar mustaches, so staging is a key component in the art, and even though there are differences in build and hairstyle, Watson and Lastrade look and awful lot alike to someone not paying close attention.

I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and seeing has how Moore and Reppion are setting this adventure in continuity (between The Adventure of Black Peter and The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans) I’m sticking around for the full run.  Dynamite Entertainment has done a great job of finding interesting stories told by writers who are passionate about their work, and Sherlock Holmes is yet another series that has made its way to my pull list, and earning 4 out of 5 Stars.

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. hermit
    April 30, 2009 at 2:12 pm — Reply

    i agree with you. i’m slowly starting to buy floppys again and i can say that i’m off with a good a start with this title. next is buck rogers.

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