--by Stephen Schleicher
The problem with many comic book story arcs is once you hit issues three and four in a six issue arc, the story starts to stall as the writer attempts to fill the time before the turn and final denouement that wraps everything up. Fortunately, this is not the case with Leah Moore and John Reppion as the title character remains on the run.
This issue features Sherlock Holmes on the run after breaking out of prison, and he switches disguises a couple of times which makes it difficult to remember who is who. Fortunately, artist Aaron Campbell takes the time to have Holmes turn and look over his shoulder, and frames him in a way that everyone is in on the trick. Holmes’ journey around London gives some additional reveals – in particular a pair of hoodlums whose appearance in the story had me scratching my head as to why they appeared.
The plot to kill the visiting Baron Lothair continues to unfold as an assassination attempt on his life is carried out in grad fashion at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The Baron survives the attempt, but the reader is not made privy to who the shooter may be.
The change in place and location also finds Doctor Watson hoping to get help from Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock Holmes’ smarter brother. It’s got to be frustrating being Watson. Here’s a man that has the smarts to be a doctor, but deduction and reasoning force him to rely in Sherlock and Mycroft to spell it out for him. Mycroft, being the smarter one, is even more of a blocker than Sherlock when it comes to to helping the companion, by stating he’s late for lunch. Of course it’s not until the final panel that we find out who Mycroft it meeting for lunch.
The puzzle pieces are starting to fall into place in this third issue, but these glimpse of exposition seem a bit confusing at times. That’s one of the problems with many of the Sherlock Holmes stories in that readers see everything unfold through Watson’s recollections. I’m still confident that the final issue of this arc will spell everything out in a way that makes sense in hindsight, and thus show how well thought out the story is.
Don’t confuse the plot points highlighted above as an indication that this is a slow issue. A shoot out, a chance meeting with the Queen, Sherlock Holmes eluding police, a prying journalist from a paper who’s trying to get a scoop, and a lot more move this issue along nicely, and there’s never a dull moment. Moore and Reppion continue to keep the action entertaining and the story interesting.
While Campbell does use traditional television techniques to give the reader a chance to figure out who is who, and his attention to detail is really great, at time the panels seem so detailed that characters can get lost or confused with one another. I blame the fashion and facial hair style of the time, but it is a slight problem.
Personally, I really enjoy the detective genre, and the Sherlock Holmes series from Dynamite Entertainment is well done. I’m not sure I have it all figured out, but that’s part of the fun. Sherlock Holmes #3 holds together well and earns 4 out of 5 Stars.