Friday, June 6, 2014

Moriarty lives! But should he?

Tonight I got caught up with Dynamite Comics' new series Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives! -- now on its third issue. And was pleasantly surprised.

Not to be confused with the Image Comics Moriarty series of a few years back, Moriarty Lives is a more down-to-Earth tale of the events following the professor's time after his survival of the Reichenbach Falls incident. Despite Holmes's name appearing on the cover, he isn't a character in the book, although this is one of those Moriarty tales where the professor is something of a dark reflection of Holmes, using the same powers of observation for more nefarious ends.

Writer David Liss provides a very solid Moriarty, a little less professorish and a little more criminal that my own mental image of the fellow, but that's his perogative. Daniel Indro's art has a certain savage physicality to it, and the colors by Josan Gonzalez, are, as one would expect, dark and ominous.

For a story with Moriarty as the protagonist, one must have an even-more-evil villain, whom appears in the persona of Baron Bombastus Von Hohenheim, a name somewhat reminiscent of a Full Metal Alchemist character, who claims to be a master of . . . coincidentally . . . alchemy. It seems, at first, that Moriarty has survived Sherlock Holmes only to be about to meet his end at the hands of an evil power greater than himself. But Moriarty did not become who he is without reason.

Moriarty Lives gives the professor some dark deeds to do, some challenges to plot his own master plan to deal with, and, even more interestingly, a young boy to take care of while doing all of the above. It's a good story, and I'll be following it to the end, but damn, Moriarty is just a little too evil to be able to enjoy completely, even when he's facing a foe who deserves a solid comeuppance.

While Professor Moriarty can be an interesting character in his own right, and has, many times, he's still no replacement for the good guy who put him down at the falls to begin with. (At least Holmes isn't dead in this version.)

Or maybe I'm just not evil enough to ever fully get behind him. If you're evil, though, I will whole-heartedly recommend Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives! Just quit being evil for long enough to actually pay for your copies, as I'd like to get to read the rest of the story without it getting cancelled for having all the copies stolen instead of bought.

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