|SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE VANISHING MAN No. 1, May 2018|
Whilst the “Dynamite Entertainment” creative crew may well have leapt at the opportunity to “fill in” some of the “as-yet-unrecorded adventures” which Doctor John Watson was always insinuating with their own anecdotes, this opening instalment to “Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man” seems perturbingly similar to Arthur Conan Doyle’s December 1891 short “The Man With The Twisted Lip” rather than an innovative addition to the internationally popular franchise’s comic-based canon. True, “the curious case of Michael Williams” initially focuses upon the disappearance of a solicitor’s “excellent” yet lowly office clerk rather than a “respectable businessman” such as Mister Neville St. Clair. But the similarities in both characters being supposedly reliable men “at... work and home, who [then violently] disappear without a trace from foggy old London Town” will undoubtedly inauspiciously strike a chord with any readers familiar with the amateur sleuth’s well-documented fictional biography.
Fortunately however, it doesn’t take Leah Moore and John Reppion’s collaborative narrative for this twenty-two page periodical too long before it starts to take on a life of its own, as the hapless, well-meaning druggist Lloyd comes to a grisly end simply because he “had a shop in Tooting once”, and the titular character accepts an infinitely less ‘run-of-the-mill’ investigation involving missing Brigadier Ronald Makepeace and an ancient Egyptian Mummy’s curse; “It’s something from a Boy’s Own Adventure! How could I resist such a case?” These additional sub-plots really help add some enthralling complications to the story-telling, not least of which is Professor Moriarty’s notable surprise appearance in a dead chemist's store clutching a vial of Holmes’ precious “poison”…
Equally as enticing is the husband-and-wife writing team’s attention to detail towards their tale’s supporting cast, most notably that of young urchin Wiggins and the far less likeable Mister Withers. As far as the diminutive Baker Street Irregular is concerned, one can almost feel his excitement at being promised the change from a gold sovereign for completing a seemingly straightforward errand, and then later taste the petrified boy’s palpable fear having witnessed a pharmacist being brutally beaten to death right in front of his horrified eyes. Whereas Mister Hookham’s male assistant, ever present and watchful throughout his boss’s dealings with Holmes and Watson, is clearly capable of lying to his employer, as demonstrated by artist Julius Ohta pencilling the man brazenly walking into his superior’s office upon seeing the older man's guests and claiming he didn’t “hear anyone come in."
|Writers: Leah Moore & John Reppion, and Illustrator: Julius Ohta|