REVIEW: I, Holmes #1

Sherlock Holmes is a name that conjures up a number of different images.  The deerstalker.  The pipe.  Benedict Cumberbatch. Jonny Lee Miller.  Lucy Liu? Whomever you think of when you hear his name, chances are you won’t be thinking of a university student who is the fifth great-granddaughter of Mr Holmes.

During this first issue we are introduced to Miss Rose, first name “I”, and the chaos that is her life.  Through the first few pages, we get to see certain characteristics surface, that are supposed to remind us of her lineage.  At this point, this is more like a knowing wink to the readers, as I, at this point is still I, Rose.  We also get an introduction to the pseudo Watson and Lestrade, though being the first issue, neither are fully realized.

Michael Lent showers this issue with Holmes-ians that fans of either the books, Sherlock or Elementary should recognize.  This element needs to work or else “I” could just come across like a very observant smart ass.  It’s at this point I should mention that I don’t think, as a reader/viewer, we are supposed to like Holmes.  We should be identifying with those who are unfortunately part of his life.  Lent clearly seems to agree as hanging out with “I” doesn’t seem to be a happy experience for her friend/babysitter.  The trick will be not to go too far, as there has to be an element of engenderment at some point. Lent also tries hard to do the “second sight” level of observation and truth be told, at times, does well.  The dialogue is clipped in a way that gives the impression the “I” feels she is above everyone else.

The art is supplied by Dan Parsons who also provides inks and colors.  Previously, an inker on a number of books, Parson is stepping into full art mode and like the writing, at time does well and at others, well, struggles.  Starting with what works,  faces.  For the most part Parson’s faces are consistent, especially with the main character and her blonde friend.  The poker game is also well done.  Where Parson struggles is around the group scenes and possibly the choice of camera angles.  It’s as if he has a great idea for a scene but can’t fully give it life, whereas a more experienced artist may look to for a different angle which in turn would propel the story forward.  Even in a comic book that eschews superheroes, there needs to be a sense of movement, either of character or story.  At times Parson’s work can look a little flat.  The colors are a mixed bag also.  They seem just a little, bright. Whilst “I” doesn’t live in perpetual darkness, as with most iterations of Sherlock, there is a darkness about her that tends to seep into the surrounds, be that environment or other people.

This book seems to live on its expectations.  That might seem like a bit of an odd statement, but I think I would have liked to read the book without knowing the parentage of “I”.  This would hopefully show that Lent has tapped into a Holmes vibe that would have been instantly recognizable.  Unfortunately, with the punchline already out in the open, I fear that it’s revelation only serves to color our reading experience, painting our favourite versions of Holmes into the cracks to give the impression of who “I” purports to be.

Writing – 3 Stars
Art -3 Stars
Colors – 3 Star

(W) Michael Lent
(A) Dan Parsons, Marc Rene
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