The mystery of the locked room mystery


Leah Moore and John Reppion did a bang up job in kicking off a new era of Sherlock Holmes in comic book form.  A brand new mystery, utilizing the tropes that made the detective famous.  Issue #2 finds Holmes in jail for a murder he may have committed, so how’s he going to get out of this one.

SHERLOCK02_Cov.jpgFollowing the murder of Sir Samuel Henry, the great detective has been arrested and tossed in the hoosegow as the prime suspect.  Scotland Yard is stacking the deck against Holmes by preventing Watson, Inspector Lestrade, and even Holmes’ landlady Ms. Hudson from seeing the imprisoned sleuth or even investigating the case officially.  Things look pretty bleak for the hero who is locked up deep in the prison, but one only has to remember that this is Sherlock Holmes the master detective, the man who is able to pick up the subtleties and nuances of anyone, and most importantly, a master of disguise, which comes into play at issues end.

What makes this issue stand out is readers aren’t inundated with Holmes’ smarter-than-thou attitude, that at times tends to belittle those around him, but rather Moore and Reppion’s focus on the failings of both Watson and Lestrade.  This issue finds Watson stressing over the clues he has access to, and Lestrade relegated to bodyguard duty of a visiting dignitary.  It’s an interesting character study to see the two struggle without their friend, and even more satisfying to see the two work together at issue’s end find physical evidence of the crime.

Moore and Reppion also present a very interesting perspective on Holmes’ greatest foe.  The Scotland Yard’s head inspector believes Holmes killed Sir Henry because Sir Henry has deduced that Moriarty and Holmes are one and the same.  While we are lead to believe that Moriarty is real in Watson’s fantastical accounts of Holmes adventures, here readers are asked to question that belief just a little.  I like the concept, but it is an argument that doesn’t stand on its own legs and would collapse completely once the Holmes purists found out about it.

The pacing works very well in the issue, and once readers realize disguises play a part in this chapter, more attention will be paid to the art.  Here Aaron Campbell serves up a slice of Victorian England architecture and period dress to create an overall feel of the time period.  The only thing I thought that seemed off was the night scenes didn’t seem foggy enough, and things looked a little too clean for taste — especially during an era where everything was being fueled by coal.

When all is said and done, the story moves forward as Holmes’ stay in prison is cut short, Watson finds a clue, and I’m still thinking Sir Henry’s maid was somehow involved in all of this.  The good thing about a well told mystery – especially in comic book form – is if the writers and artists are on their game, all the clues are laid before the reader if they know where to look.  I’m hoping once the series finishes, readers can flip back to back issues and see how clever everything was put together.

Sherlock Holmes #2 is a well put together issue, and I’m hooked with the mystery.  I’m giving the issue 4.5 out of 5 Stars.


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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  1. June 11, 2009 at 10:24 pm — Reply

    This is book is quite good. I like the way they’ve managed to put Holmes in a situation where even his intellect won’t be enough to escape. Watson’s attempts to “be the man” are touching and a little bit funny all at once.

  2. Allison
    June 23, 2009 at 9:27 am — Reply

    Wow, really? 4.5 out of 5 stars? I’m not so sure. The artwork makes it difficult to differentiate all the characters that have been added to the story. Watson and Lestrade look so much alike that it’s hard to tell who is who, and so do other minor characters such as the head inspector and other English dignitaries. The story seems to really go nowhere in this issue and I’m not so sure that there’s much of a mystery when it’s obvious that Holmes is being framed by corrupt officials. I had hoped to add this title to my regular pull list but in the days of inflating comic book prices, I’m not sure that this book is worth the price. I’m thinking 2 – 2.5 stars is a more realistic rating for this issue.

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