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Moriarty leaves me feeling like an incompetent oaf yet again. Our suave and arrogant detective draws confusing conclusions from thin air, the story only slightly progresses, several characters that I did not even know existed say their farewells, and we end this mostly boring but sophisticated issue with a fantastically nightmarish hallucination which almost makes the rest of the issue worth it. Unfortunately, almost is all writer Daniel Corey gets.
With the help of Blair, Moriarty attempts to stop the riots from getting even more out of hand while looking for his old friend Morley, and the Lazarus Tree, in an attempt to prevent his death. He also receives an impromptu nightmare featuring his old adversary Sherlock Holmes.
Corey has made some minor improvements that started in issue 7 of Moriarty and continue here. This issue does not feel like a novel. There are mass amounts of dialogue, but it is not mass amounts of Moriarty’s complex narration. Instead, readers get to (somewhat) enjoy the dialogue between Moriarty and several other characters, who can easily be grouped into one big problem this series has: rarely does any character other than Moriarty interest readers.
Most of the characters are throwaways. None are memorable, specifically a man Moriarty helps (somewhat for his own gain, of course) and one of the men Moriarty wants to work with him, a European named Warfield. The doctor Moriarty wishes to assist him as well is somewhat memorable, but only because he shared an out-of-place scene with Moriarty that I ranted about in my last review. Memorable in the worst possible way.
Dr. Watson and Blair, next to Moriarty, are the most memorable characters of the cast and both follow a similar pattern.
Dr. Watson makes another appearance, again trying to capture Moriarty. It is interesting to see his position and Moriarty’s seemingly flipped in this issue with Moriarty the one readers are cheering for. But it also makes this issue even more convoluted – Dr. Watson acts like your average villain and does not seem to portray his original material very well. He also comes off fairly weak and non-threatening, unlike Blair who does seem to pose a threat to Moriarty despite not being able to match wits with him.
Blair, an officer, does not trust Moriarty but has no heated conversations with him in this issue, an element which I enjoyed from the last issue, until the ending, which did have an admittedly decent cliffhanger.
Despite being a reprehensible anti-hero out to save himself, Moriarty has captured my heart. Never call him overconfident – he can always back up what he says, and it usually leads to some funny scenes which also were sadly missing in this issue. His intellect gets a bit too staggering in this issue as he draws conclusions from tiny tidbits. This is not a huge complaint because, as Sherlock Holme’s nemesis, you know the caliber of the mystery is high, but I can never wrap my head around what he is saying and often feel like a moron who can not follow the story.
What I can understand of the story has a great set-up with Moriarty suffering the after-effects of peering into the chamber from the first arc, where he witnessed his death. Not only was this a great build-up into this arc, but the Lazarus Tree Moriarty needs to help him because of it’s effects brings in very horrific elements to this otherwise very confusing and convoluted action/mystery tale.
The ending pages are some of the best moments of this issue. Close to the end, there is a trippy dream sequence with Moriarty while he’s wide awake. The sequence adds in a nice horror element to this issue that was much appreciated, with the aid of not only Corey’s dialogue, but Anthony Diecidue’s artwork which reaches it’s height of success here.
Diecidue creates some great imagery when drawing the Lazarus Tree and makes the most powerful scene of this issue stand-out to readers with his artwork alone. The great moment right before the Lazarus Tree with Moriarty experiencing the beginnings of his crazy dream are pulled off because of colorist Perry Freeze’s surreal array of lightening blue colors, which give the panels a great look clearly distinguishing them from the “real” world, but not making them look like the stereotypical dream montage.
Diecidue’s artwork overall is still not working for this series. The style is too rough with Moriarty looking positively decrepit in some parts despite his middle-agedness. Expressions are also awkwardly drawn and most of the imagery is distracting because it looks computer generated due to the strange blotches still littering the artwork. Yes, those pesky liver spots that I’ve complained about before in The Dark Chamber arc are back again, this time occupying whole outfits of characters!
Moriarty is still a very unique series with a great premise. It keeps the feel of the complex Sherlock Holmes mystery novel without feeling like the same length (at least for now). Moriarty is a great anti-hero who uses his intelligence and fighting skills to his advantage. The series still intrigues me, but frustrates me with needless complex points and numerous character who are not necessary or memorable. Do not pick it up if you have not been reading the series or if you do not want to think – you’ll have to do a lot of that to keep awake, enjoy and understand this complex tale, and even then the enjoyment is limited.