Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Trial of the (19th) Century

Sherlock Holmes #3
Writers: Leah Moore and John Reppion
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

In the first two issues of Sherlock Holmes (also known as The Trial of Sherlock Holmes), the world's greatest detective has been caught with a smoking gun in hand while standing over the lifeless corpse of a friend, arrested and escaped from jail. Issue #3 finds Holmes on the run and undercover. Meanwhile, Dr. Watson has to do something that he's not entirely comfortable with - solving a murder without Holmes.

For any passing fan of Sherlock Holmes this is a well-crafted mystery that is very much in the spirit and charm of the original world of Holmes. For me, I've always been attracted to stories that take place in Victorian England (for example, I am still trying to get over the loss of Ruse). But I think the main attraction to this mini series is the character of Sherlock Holmes himself. He's a man who's always on top of the mystery, and at least 500 steps ahead of the police and the criminal.

In this story, Holmes is clueless. All signs point to him being a murderer. Even he cannot account for why he was holding a gun next to a bloodied gunshot victim. So far, Holmes is just trying to escape incarceration. He believes he's innocent, but has no proof. That's where Watson has to step up his game. We're getting an idea of how well connected the dynamic duo is in the city and within the police force. We even have a scene in which Watson meets the Queen.

There's also a sense of dread. Many wonder what will happen if another murder happens and Holmes isn't there to help solve the crime. What if he is guilty? Could he be masquerading as a decent and intelligent man while actually being a homicidal maniac? How many of his crimes did he cover up by sending others to jail?

This mini-series is a great example of how good comics can be. It doesn't have to be all capes and spandex. You can create stories with superheroes that aren't flying around or running at super-speed. Obviously, it doesn't hurt to have the great Alan Moore's daughter's name printed on the inside cover. The first three issues have been fantastic from front to back and a great literary escape. I highly recommend either tracking down the first three issues and finish out the mini, or waiting for the trade to hit the shelves and give this one a shot. Anyone in the mood for a good old fashioned mystery will not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading. I'll be back with reviews from these book that hit the stands on July 29th: The New Avengers #55, Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3, and Fear Agent #27!

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