Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fan Ramblings – Sherlock Holmes Comics

When I was very young I wanted to be a detective when I grew up. I made my own detective kit and routinely went around my house trying to solve mysteries like “The Caper of the Missing Coffee Cup.” I suppose that it is no surprise that my favorite superhero is known as the world’s greatest detective. I have always loved a good mystery and gravitate toward characters who are great detectives both in comics and out (such as House, Psych, Monk, Detective Conan, the Great Mouse Detective, Rescue Rangers, and Phillip Marlow).

"Where could the cup be?"
Since the Sherlock Holmes movie recently our classic detective has been getting a lot of press. With the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle safely within the public domain there are many different takes on the character available. Some are very traditional, while others seem to be ideas taken directly from a fanfiction forum somewhere.

Recently, a lot of Holmes related comics have appeared and I just can’t help but be tempted by them, even by the really gimmicky ones. I know some of them are just attempts to cash in on Holmes’ current popularity, but I just can’t help but think, “But what if it’s good?” So now, I’ll share with you, some of Holmes’ more recent comic adventures.

Sherlock Holmes (Dynamite Entertainment)
By far the most traditional Holmes story of those listed here, you will gain a lot from this story if you are a Holmes fan. Many familiar characters make an appearance, like Inspector LeStrade and Holmes’ brother Mycroft. In this story Holmes is the only suspect in a locked room murder. It wasn’t the most amazing Holmes’ story I have ever read, although the mystery was complex enough to keep me interested for five issues. All in all though, it never shook off the fanfiction feeling for me. Worth a read, but not necessarily worth buying unless you are a Holmes fan.

Sherlock Ninja (Antarctic Press)
I really wanted this one to be decent. It includes two of my favorite things: Sherlock Holmes and ninjas! Unfortunately this was not the greatest match made in heaven. I was disappointed to find that the art was black and white. Black and white art can be done well (like in Walking Dead) but here it simply made everything muddled. Nothing really stood out. And the fight scenes were terrible. I couldn’t figure out what was going on half of the time. And when you have what should be cool ninja fights, that is a big problem. Overall this was a single issue that was pretty forgettable. I don’t regret buying it, as it amused me slightly, but it’s not one that I would really recommend anyone pick up, unless they just want to say that they own something called Sherlock Ninja.  And yet if an issue #2 shows up I would probably buy it anyway just to see where they go with it...

Victorian Undead (Wildstorm)
In another I-can’t-believe-they-are-really-doing-this premise, this series is all about Sherlock Holmes vs. zombies! Like Sherlock Ninja above, I was suckered in by the pairing of two of my favorite things. And for what it was, I feel it was well handled. Sherlock Holmes DID get called in on his fair share of strange and unbelievable cases in his time, so this isn’t as out there as it could be. I think I would have liked this story a tad better if it had just been Holmes and company dealing with a zombie invasion. But things are, of course, more complicated than that, and it turns out that the zombies are being led by *SPOILER ALERT* Holmes deceased arch nemesis Professor Moriarty. It wasn’t really a surprise, and unfortunately I didn’t feel like it added a lot to the zombie story. In fact, once that was reveled I felt that the zombies took a back seat to Moriarty zombie in importance. The story changed from Holmes vs. zombies to Holmes vs. Moriarty who happens this time to be a zombie. I wanted to read about Holmes fighting something completely out of his element, and it kinda fell short in that regard. But all in all it wasn’t a bad read and had enough Holmes character cameos to keep me happy. Apparently the series did well enough to spawn an October one shot with Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and a second miniseries starting in November with Holmes vs. Dracula! I’m hoping that this time the series can focus on the undead half of the equation a little more.

Muppet Sherlock Holmes (Boom!)
This title isn’t out yet, but based on the preview images I’ve seen I have high hopes for it. It’s a Muppet parody with Gonzo as Holmes and Fonzy as Dr. Watson. Kermit will make an appearance as Inspector LeStrade and by the end there will probably be more Muppets than you can shake a magnifying glass at. Unlike the other items on this list, this miniseries is retelling four classic Holmes stories; The Speckled Band, A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red Headed League, and The Musgrove Ritual. The content has been tweaked of course to stay within the atmosphere of the Muppets and to condense the story down to 24 pages, and while each issue/case is a separate story, there will be threads that tie the whole series together. As this is a parody, I have high hopes that it will take what it needs from the source material, but also never take itself too seriously. If you have kids who like to play detective or like the Muppets this might be a good series to pick up for them!

If they make a Lego Sherlock Holmes game I am SO there!

Whatever may befall our favorite detective I'm sure I'll be along for the ride.  How about the rest of you?  Any insane story ideas you would like to see in future comics?  Do you have a favorite character that you are driven to pick things up for, even when you know some of its going to be crap?


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