In which Holmes defends himself


For months we’ve been following the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  A locked room mystery, with Holmes as the primary suspect, brought readers into the series, but it is the answer that caused us all to stick around.  The final issue arrives this week, and it’s wrapped up in a neat package as only Sherlock Holmes could deliver.

sherlockholmesCOVER.jpgIf one ever wondered what would happen if Sherlock Holmes had to defend himself in court, those events play out in the closing chapter of Sherlock Holmes by Leah Moore and John Reppion.  All the clues we’ve been given from the beginning of the series are brought to light as the pieces of the puzzle begin to form a picture that most of us can follow along with.

What’s most fascinating about this story is how Moore and Reppion bring the idea of forensics into the story.  As the Victorian age comes to an end, science and alternative methods of examining the world gain even greater prominence, and adding this touch to the story makes it even more believable to readers who are obsessed with CSI and its spin-off shows.  An even nicer touch is adding Monsieur Alphonse Bertillon to the story – even if it is name only – as a further tie to the Holmes mythos (Bertillon was referenced in The Hound of the Baskervilles).

But while Holmes is able to clear his name, the side story of the continued assassination attempts on the life Baron Lothair.  Being a huge fan of Holmes, the Baron sneaks out of the castle to attend the trial, and ends up in a very public place; a perfect place for another assassination attempt.  Luckily, Watson follows one of the conspirators from the courtroom to the rooftop, and succeeds in putting an end to the plot – a plot that would have resulted in the start of a major world war.  Had Holmes not been involved in the death of Sir Henry, and his own trail, he would have been able to figure out the plot sooner, so getting Holmes out of the way, was key to carrying out the attempt.  It’s the final page reveal of who helped arrange the death of Sir Henry, and the trail of Sherlock that is the real surprise, and having Sherlock solve the mystery while defending his own life really goes to prove who is the smarter brother.

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales is that so often answers materialize out of thin air to solve the case, without a solid connection tying everything together.  There is a slight sense of that here, but again, going back to previous issues show all the elements present, even if the connection isn’t readily apparent.  Moore and Reppion do an excellent job of weaving a strong mystery and delivery an ending that satisfies the detective in all of us.

Also finishing strong is the art by Aaron Campbell. I felt his art in this issue was the strongest of the series, as there were no problems trying to deduce who was who.  Aaron did an excellent job in rendering the throngs outside of the courthouse, without key players getting lost in the crowd.  The panel pacing worked well with the writing, making this a joy of an issue to read.

Do I wan’t more Holmes? I think giving readers a rest, and not jamming another Holmes adventure down their throat might serve to build anticipation, while at the same time, giving more readers a chance to discover the series in trade form.  The Trail of Sherlock Holmes was a cleverly written tale full of suspense and a true mystery that readers really don’t see in other comics being written today.  Leah Moore and John Reppion deserve high praise for their work here, and I’m more than happy to give Sherlock Holmes #5 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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