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Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #4 – Review

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud that his creations from Sherlock Holmes were used to create this series.  This final issue cements this series as a classic despite the fact that it has had quite a number of flaws during its short run. But these flaws are far outweighed by the positives.  The previously unseen villain appears in this issue and is written, along with the rest of the story, masterfully, with the only downfall of the issue being the artwork. 

In the final chapter of Moriarty, writer Daniel Corey finally has Moriarty great mastermind and Sherlock Holmes’ greatest arch-nemesis come face to face with our villain, Tartarus, and we’ll finally see his plan to conquer the world using the dark chamber to manifest peoples’ fears come to fruition unless Moriarty can stop him.         

Image: Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #4 written by Daniel Corey based off of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's characters.This issue of Moriarty is the easiest to follow while still keeping the series’ intellectual tone.  The story finally comes full circle and falls into place perfectly.  After three issues building the villain up, we finally get to see Gottfried, better known as ‘Tartarus,’ in action.  His dialogue is always well-thought-out and he has the most interesting speech in the entire series about the Goddess of the Earth, Gaia.  The speech characterizes him immediately as an insane cultist, and his continued use of Gaia watching him solidifies his deranged nature. 

The only big set-back with Tartarus’ character is his design.  His get-up is like a class D super villain’s and his green eyes often look cartoonish.  His master plan is also not very original, since his plan is pretty much just taking over the world (of course!), but the way he describes his means of doing so with a ‘Cyclops Eye’ that can “…devour entire cities,” makes him seem like a more original villain.   He is never threatening because of his appearance, but Corey uses his entire writing prowess to make his dialogue have all the menace it needs. 

That is where this issue shines the dialogue.  Instead of an intense look into Moriarty’s psyche through his narration, this issue focuses more on dialogue and does it very well.  It makes you wish Corey had used his talent with dialogue more often in the past instead of his dragging narration.  Its absence makes the story progress at a steady rate and does not make it feel like the novel the first issue was.  In fact, this issue felt a little on the short side. 

The end of the issue was very satisfying with a somewhat obvious twist that still paid off well and makes you want to see Moriarty in his own series again.  His character has an experience with the dark chamber that helps move him forward and the ending literally has him go back to the beginning of the series. 

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #4 the Cyclops EyeThe art, unfortunately, doesn’t take cues from the first issue but keeps it consistent with the last issue, which was cluttered with odd artwork that did not work.  The grainy backgrounds covered in black spots make an unwelcome return in this issue and still confuse me as to their purpose – perhaps to make the panel look like it has liver spots?  It is understandable that artist Anthony Diecidue wanted to keep the art somewhat consistent with, ironically, the last, very inconsistent issue.  But the flaws are also consistent with the last issue.  Tartarus’ design was gimmicky and his followers were barely given any detail other than the quick scribbled shrouds of their robes.  In some panels, Moriarty is also given harsh treatment with his face looking weirdly distorted.    

Perry Freeze’s colors manage to make the art tolerable and even make the ending scenery breathtaking.  The green glow coming from the dark chamber makes the panels with its toxic green have an enjoyable finish.  A small panel with an explosion has a wonderful, abstract mix of greens.  When a quick look is taken outside of the action between Moriarty and Tartarus, we are also treated to some eerie, yet beautiful scenery, thanks to the touch of mist added to the panel and the blend of blues in the ocean and sky from Freeze.  And, during the sword fight between Moriarty and Tartarus, the use of blood does give the panels intensity, and brings some positive physical characteristics to Tartarus’ ridiculous design.

Despite all the questionable artistic choices, the colors saved the art from being terrible.  The issue brings the story full circle in an entertaining way through the dialogue but not by the art.  Every word is chosen with care and a lot of effort went into it.  Tartarus was worth the wait with Corey giving him some of the best dialogue in the entire series, enough to almost completely overpower his appearance.  This issue is a great ending or in Moriarty’s case, a great beginning.       

For more on Moriarty’s battle with his inner dragon, check out the reviews below.

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #2

Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #3

Rating
8.0

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About / Bio
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.

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