When you think of the World’s Greatest Detective, you’re probably thinking of a certain Caped Crusadar. Not a bad answer, but not exactly the correct one. Sherlock Holmes is without a doubt one of the greatest detectives ever, perhaps even the greatest. (He is the original after all, predating Batman, Dick Tracey, and even the Hardy Boys.) It’s never too soon or too late for a new story with the character. Fan of the Robert Downey Jr. starred films or not, you should give this comic a go. The Liverpool Demon is more like the classic stories and less like the recent films. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you, but there’s no doubt this series looks to be a good read for fans of the character.
Here’s the official description from Dynamite:
Sherlock Holmes is busy doing what he does best, solving a case of far-reaching international notoriety. It has landed him at the Port of Liverpool, a bustling hub of commerce both legitimate and illicit. As that chapter closes, ours begins. They head to Lime Street Station, to catch a fast steam locomotive home to London and Baker Street, when violent weather keeps The Great Detective and Watson in Britain’s second city a while longer. Long enough to encounter a monster, discover the Liverpool underworld, and to become embroiled in one of his strangest cases yet.
The opening part doesn’t have much to do with the main story, rather it focuses on introducing Holmes and Watson for either the veteran or new reader. Everything is retained here, from Sherlock Holmes’ amazing deducing ability (the deduces also smartly makes sense, so props to the writing team) to the best friend relationship of him and Watson. The Liverpool Demon technically doesn’t really appear until the end, this issue is a setup one. Longtime fans of the character (or people who saw the two films) will enjoy the story. Holmes is portrayed wonderfully, from his amazing deductive work to his slight sarcastic nature. It wouldn’t be a Holmes comic without Dr. Watson. The writing team has a very firm handle on this guy, Holmes and him work so well together. Later in the story an old friend of Watson comes by and asks him if he and Holmes would join him at a club. (Complete with a humorous scene of the title character rolling his eyes as Watson talks with his university buddy.) It’s at this club when the story really starts to take place. It’s also there where my favorite part is, when Mr. Leck asks Holmes if he believes in the power of mediums. The latter says he believes a medium has talent but not in the paranormal sense. Then he goes on to tell each person something about themselves, proving that all it takes is great deductive skills. By far the best scene in the comic.
The art is pretty good for the most part. It does take sometime to get used to the way Holmes looks. The backdrops compliment the 1800 setting well. Sometimes detail could be lacking, especially in the faces. (In a few scenes it looks like pupils on some of the characters have disappeared.) The cover is very Sherlock Holmes-like, a fine cover. Not too explosive but giving you a sense of mystery. The Liverpool Demon technically appears, the art succeeds in making it look mysterious, even if we only see some wings.
Overall, a really good start to this new Sherlock Holmes story. The writing has a great hold of the title character and Watson, this issue proves these guys will never be too old-fashioned for a modern audience. The actual story is just getting started, I look forward to the next installment. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up The Liverpool Demon #1.