There are definitely two parts to every comic book or graphic novel: the story and the art.
With the second issue of Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man, I find that I'm am loving one half of that equation and really wondering why the other is on the payroll.
The key to any Sherlock Holmes story is the weird and colorful predicament of his client, or the murder victim, or the clever tricks of Sherlock Holmes, the culprit, or both.
The key to any good comic book story is that combination of images and situations that evoke drama, comedy, or thrills.
It really seems like those two things shouldn't be too hard to combine.
With movies, like those featuring Robert Downey, Jr., the imagery can even go too over the top, with a Reichenbach Falls that seems like a mountain-top Niagara, exploding trees, and whole ocean liners falling on people. But it still seems to capture Sherlock Holmes, and hold your interest.
Even Conan Doyle struggled to keep up Sherlock's proper pace, striking with a weird short story situation, having Holmes right it, and getting out again. Modern novelists, forced to do a whole book to meet market demands, struggle even harder and fail time and again. Sherlock Holmes is a caper character -- get in, get out, leave the audience's head spinning in his wake. In the best novel Conan Doyle ever wrote of Holmes, Sherlock had to let Watson go it alone for a large chunk of the story, just so he could show up, do his thing, and get out again.
So with Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man, we find a writer trying to pad out a missing person case over multiple months to get enough content to fill a graphic novel. Moriarty is dragging Wiggins around, trying to feed him candy and dinner, and neither character is named in the second issue, depending upon you to remember the way they were drawn from a month ago. Perhaps this story will be one that works when read all at once, combining the first five or six issues, but I'm having my doubts. The mysterious secret alluded to in both the first and second issue of the man who disappeared is fairly obvious each time the question is raised.
Is it spoilers to give away a plot twist when the writer hasn't even revealed it yet? I won't give it away here, but man, after two issues, I'm finding that I really enjoy the art of this comic . . . I just wish the artist was given better purposes to be using it with.
As much as I hate to go negative on anything these days, this is one for the collectors.