Watson & Holmes #1
Reviewed by Brant W. Fowler
Story: Paul Mendoza & Brandon Perlow
Writer: Karl Bollers
Art: Rick Leonardi
Colors: Paul Mendoza
Letters: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: New Paradigm Studios
Price: $.99 (on iVerse)
Release Date: August 29, 2012
A fresh take on an old Victorian classic... When a strange OD victim is rolled into Watson's ER, he meets Holmes, the brilliant crime-solver who figures out the victim's girlfriend has been abducted. As these two unlikely allies work together to find her, they go deeper into the world of a drug-trafficking ring they may never get out of alive...
I'm not a Sherlock Holmes afficianado, but I know enough about the character and his history to know when it's being done right and when it's being done wrong. I'm glad to say that this new take on the character is one of the right ones.
Bollers and Leonardi, using a great story from Mendoza and Perlow, deliver a unique take on the classic characters of Watson & Holmes in this urban reimagining. They are able to capture the essence of the characters while providing them with authenticity to the culture these versions represent. From Boller's accurate dialogue to Leonardi's perfect artistic renditions, this book is well done from start to finish.
I'm always hesitant to try new takes on classic tales such as that of Sherlock Holmes. Though many would disagree, Robert Downey Jr.'s take on the character was a fun action packed version, while the recent BBC rendition starring Benedict Cumberbatch is more akin to the classics in a modern setting. Watson & Holmes delivers yet another twist on the tale of these two intrepid detectives (or rather doctor... sorry, "medical intern" and detective) while, again, maintaining what is intrinsicly special about their story.
Both Bollers and Leonardi have solid track records, of course, and their previous work speaks for itself (Google them). And this work is just another feather in their caps. What I appreciate about this book is that it's not like many movie remakes of classic properties. It isn't done for laughs, it doesn't exploit the material or culture it represents, and it's not amateurish in any fashion. It's a solid story about interesting characters, bottom line. The creative team managed to present the story of Sherlock Holmes in a relatable way without any cheap sterotypes or by over emphasizing the distinct change in the book, which of course presents the pair as African-American.
My only criticism would be a nitpick, and that is that Holmes seems to give up his insights a bit too quickly. In every good incarnation of the character I've seen, Holmes tends to keep everyone around him guessing, including Watson. So in future issues I'd prefer to see a bit more of that. But at the same time, I appreciate the more intelligent and less sidekick-like take on Watson in this book as well. So if it's a toss up between those two elements, I'll take it as is.
This first issue is out sometime today on iVerse for a mere $.99. Do yourself a favor and check it out!
Brant W. Fowler / Writer, Letterer, Reviewer, Columnist, Podcaster, Partner/COO/Site Manager of Comic Related
Brant W. Fowler has been a professional comic book writer, editor, flatter, letterer and logo designer for several years, and has been a freelance editor for the past five years or so. He is one of the cast members and host of the Zone 4 podcast here at Comic Related, and he letters some of the webcomics on the site. You can see samples of his works and how to hire him at Gonzogoose Design and Just-Flats.net. And catch up with him on his forums right here at CR. Brant is also a member of the core operations team at Comic Related.
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