"Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Sylvain Cordurie
Illustrated by Laci
2015, 100 Pages
Graphic Novel published on October 7th, 2015
There's been a resurgence of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes of late, with appearances in movies and an amazing BBC series. Creators are putting the great detective through new adventures and facing strange enemies he's never encountered before. Was it only a matter of time before he came across the Necronomicon?
This graphic novel, a reprinting of work originally published in France, is a sequel to another tale of Sherlock Holmes in which he battles vampires, so this is not the character's first experience with the supernatural. From what I've seen, one of the things that seems to set Holmes apart is his staunch refusal to accept anything mystical in nature. He can always provide a logical solution, as seen in The Hound of the Baskervilles where he debunks the existence of werewolves. After dealing with legitimate vampires, he seems to be more open to the idea of the occult.
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The comic opens with Holmes on a journey through the Antarctic. He's a bit lost after the death of his nemesis, Moriarty. Unfortunately, this lack of drive follows the character throughout the duration of the book. The keen observational deductive sense is not on display here. Things just kind of happen to him.
The real star of Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon is not the title character, but Moriarty, who has returned from the dead, although not quite as he had intended. He's missing a piece of himself and he needs Holmes to retrieve it. Moriarty is a fantastic villain, willing to go to any lengths to get what he wants. He's absolutely ruthless. There's a chilling scene where he confronts Holmes and the police in a public area and threatens to kill thousands of people nearby. This is no idle threat, as he demonstrates how capable he is of carrying out this task with a few innocent passersby.
After a shootout with the cops, Moriarty takes a bullet to the face, leaving him scarred. His cheek is ripped off, exposing his jaw underneath, not unlike the Batman villain Two Face. He appears otherwise normal, which gives this a very creepy vibe. Artist Laci really delivers on this design. Moriarty has dark, cold eyes just above this hideous open teeth.
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The extent of the power at play with the Necronomicon is epic. It starts out small before growing to some horrifying scenes. When you see a group of men shrivel up into puddles of blood and goo, it's time to go home. That should really be the point where you realize you might not be cut out for this fight and call in a professional from housewares.
I'm certainly not against Sherlock Holmes dealing with the supernatural. It can open the character up to an endless array of possible new stories. This book takes place in a world where Holmes has come to terms with the existence of the occult, but it's not a full-fledged supernatural detective like Cal MacDonald or Lucius Fogg. It's certainly not his specialty. He seems off his game here and I don't know that it's because he's confronting insanity-inducing monsters or what.