August 20, 2011

I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got three new comics plus a hard cover and trade paperback collection:

  • The Spirit – 17
  • Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies – 3
  • The Walking Dead – 88
  • ”Incognito – Bad Influences”
  • ”Treasury of 20th Century Murder – The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti”
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read recently.

    “Sherlock Holmes Volume 1: The Trial of Sherlock Holmes” By Leah Moore, John Reppion, and Aaron Campbell

    I picked up this book on a slow comics week because I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan. I like the original Sherlock Holmes stories and the Jeremy Brett TV show that adapted them but not a lot of other Holmes stuff. The latest BBC modernization of Holmes and Watson was pretty good but it’s not really Sherlock Holmes if it doesn’t take place in his time period. A lot of other Sherlock Holmes adaptations have also been not really Sherlock Holmes to me. But this one is.

    I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this book. It’s not easy to pull off a Sherlock Holmes story. Writing a character who is smarter than all of us is not an easy task. At first I was put off by the plot’s absurd notion of Holmes being arrested for murder ( I’m not a fan of absurd frame jobs in a story about anyone) but it was resolved well. The book was well written all around.

    One thing I particularly liked about the writing was that it attempted to be a Sherlock Holmes story. It succeeded at being one too. I’ve seen too many licensed comics or movies attempt to modernize or change a character to great failure. Sometimes it works out but often it takes a character you know and turns him into a character you don’t know. Why not just start with a new character altogether? Marketing reasons, I know, but still.

    Leah Moore mentions in her afterward how they worked with multiple narratives and I too noticed this as I was reading and thought it was very effective. During his trial Holmes would be telling the story of what happened while we would be seeing the action going on around the court such as Watson chasing some bad guys. It’s something that worked well and the artist, Aaron Campbell did a great job with the storytelling.

    The art was nice overall and pretty lavishly illustrated. Campbell did a nice job with the details of the time period and I liked the body language of the characters. I don’t think I’ve seen his work before but it was good. Another effective thing was the coloring by Tony Avina. I especially liked the lighting effects in the first part of the book. A lot of it was set inside or at night and all of the candles and gas lamps were colored as glowing. It set the mood well.

    Overall I’d have to say that this book had a lot more thought and sophistication put into it than I expected. Certainly more than your average Holmes adaptation. So if you’re in the mood for a serious gas light mystery then check out this volume.