Comic Review – The Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures

Release Date: December 1st
ISBN: 1905692420
Diamond: OCT10 0729
Publisher: Markosia Enterprises

Drew Castalia (Author),

Huw-J Davies (Author)

J. L. Straw (Illustrator)

Owen Jollands (Illustrator)

Join the teenage Holmes and his friends in a desperate race to unravel the mystery of theLondon Vampire before more blood is spilt on the dark, dingy and dangerous streets of Victorian London. Murder,mystery and menace follow hot on the heels of the boy who is destined to become the world’s most astonishing detective. Who is the masked figure that stalks the streets in search of blood? What secret does he hold that will forever change the life of Holmes and his closest friend? Why does ”the Agency” want Holmes to join them?

So it’s been less than a week since I read and reviewed Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes versus Zombies and I figured I’d give me myself a week a least before picking up the first issue of his battle against vampires in the sequel. However events consipred against me as another Holmes graphic novel landed my desk this week. This comic, at first glance, is a very different Holmes then I’ve been used to reading of late.

I remembered watching the Young Sherlock Holmes film as a kid and really enjoying it (yes I’m one of the few). Yes it was a completely different take on the story in that it showed Holmes in his youth meeting and forming a friendship with his stalwart companion Watson at school. It was also one of the first films I remembered watching to the end of the credits and was rewarded with an extra scene giving the audience a look at the infamous Moriarty (which was a twist in itself). I’m not sure what Doyle would have made of this but I always liked the idea of seeing a younger Holmes having adventures. It seems that I wasn’t the only one to think that was as we now have the Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures graphic novel being released this month. I’m not sure if any of the creative have seen the film but the look of Holmes and the feel of the comic definitely left me with a hankering to watch that film again.

This take on Sherlock Holmes is set in an  alternate steampunk inspired universe referred to as The London Dreamt of by Babbage this is allows the team to make some major changes to the Holmes mythos. For instance any fans of Smallville or Harry Potter will see definite influences  in the comic.

Our younger Sherlock Holmes is an intern at Longhall Academy and is even more arrogant than the man he will become but lacks experience. You could almost call label this story ‘Sherlock Holmes Begins’. There were a few times in the story where I found myself actually being annoyed by Holmes’ treatment of those around him but that was fairly in keeping with the orginal character I guess and this is the teenage version. We do get to see a softer side to the character as the story progresses.

The plot is not particularly complex and most people will see the twists coming but it’s fun, fast read and I did find it a bit of a page turner.  The character’s are engaging enough and some of what’s going on feels like foreshadowing what’s to come in future volumes (especially one tense friendship and one fateful meeting at the end of the story). I also would have liked too see a little more of Holmes’ trademark  intellect and  deductive reasoning at play, to be fair though this is Holmes before the start of his career so I’m guessing that will come as we get more volumes. This does not make the book any less enjoyable but I hope with the promise of further Holmes adventures that we can see him dealing with more devious and complex crimes.

The art is lush and colorful with a nice steampunk feel to it. I was sent this as a pdf to review but I can imagine the actual hardcopy being very easy on the eye and worth picking up especially with all the extra material. One scene  which interspersed a murder with a dance routine was a notable favorite of mine.

For those of you, like me, who like going behind the scenes of the creative process you’re in for a treat. There are twenty plus pages of fantastic sketches,early concept artwork, trading cards and several insights into how the characters have been designed and developed  after the story concludes to give the reader more for their money which is a great addition.

I think comic goes to show what an enduring character that Doyle created in that I’ve read three very different takes on Holmes and Watson recently and have yet to be bored with the character or his world.

Overall Young Sherlock Holmes  is a fun, beautifully drawn  all-ages adventure that has got off to a solid start. It’s my hope that now the world and characters have been set up Huw-J and Drew can really cut loose with volume two, which promises a wider look at this steampunk inspired Holmesian world.

Oh before I forget look out for the cheeky cameo from a famous friend/colleague  of a certain 007.

GS Reviewer: Nuge

Source: Young Sherlock Holmes Adventures

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