Adapted by David Tipton & Scott Tipton, art by Ron Joseph, published by IDW
Batman is coolest when he smiles. When he does something he doesn’t do on a regular basis you get that little grin inside because you are reminded he’s a human.
So when Sherlock Holmes is standing on the verge of a nervous breakdown, being lied to by his closest confidant and manipulated by his own brother, you really know he’s a human being and not an un-relatable ponce with high functioning Asperger Syndrome.
Having never read, encountered or even know of any version of this story I have nothing to hold it against to tell if it’s a faithful adaptation. It certainly ticks all the right Sherlock Holmes boxes, it’s clever enough without showing off and even with the glances under the polished veneer, Sherlock is still the genius and aloof detective he should be.
He follows Moriarty across Europe in a truly wonderful way, all the while Watson clings to the hope his best friend doesn’t bring up his deception, if he knows of it. There’s a lot of tension in the story and it’s between the two leads for a change. The plot with Moriarty is just a framework to drape this interesting character piece over, and it’s a well built framework to.
The art captures the era perfectly and Ron Joseph does a nice job of delivering moods with facial expressions. There’s also a limited pallet, a gradient between dark blue and brown and I’m not sure how it works but it does. The combination of line work and colour really delivers a murky, fog filled Victorian London, which contrasts nicely with the other brighter countries later in the comic, which throw green into the gradient.
It’s a novel chase story with some very clever emotional overtones set in a thick pea soup atmosphere, if you’re a fan of Holmes it’s well worth getting and if you like a good detective story, ditto.