Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #2 Review: Upstaged by a Baron with a Better Name
Moriarty seems to have quite a following. First, Image Comics gave him his own ongoing series Moriarty
. Now, Dynamite Entertainment’s David Liss is taking a swing at Sherlock Holme’s greatest nemesis.
After tumbling over a waterfall with the illustrious Sherlock Holmes, Moriarty is left stranded in Switzerland with his crime syndicate eliminated. Now, he must take on the baron who uses “magic” to scare the town and he must fulfill his promise to a dying woman. Unfortunately, he promises to protect something precious to her before he realizes what it is: the woman’s son, Ubu.
The story isn’t particularly new. You have a man tormenting a town and a hero (or, in this case, Moriarty) arrives to take him down. It’s nothing revolutionary. It’s the characters that make it unique.
Moriarty is, naturally, an interesting character. He’s Sherlock Holmes but with a penchant for crime. There are many bits of dialogue that he has which demonstrate his mental prowess. He can tell a man lusts after other men and a woman is a petty thief just by looking at them. However, this can sometimes be boring. These moments would be impressive… if Moriarty explained his findings. Then there’s the long-winded dialogue between him and a random man who he talks the ear off of for a couple pages so he can stay in his house. It is amusing how upfront he is about how villainous he is. He doesn’t put on much of an act around people, especially Ubu.
Ubu is the main reason I kept reading after the first issue of this series. I couldn’t imagine how Moriarty would take care of a child. Liss uses this to his advantage and has Moriarty train Ubu in the art of fighting and deduction. I wish his training was more dialogue-driven since then readers could have learned something too, but mostly it was about fighting. Still, the relationship between Ubu and Moriarty is interesting and I’m curious to see where it goes.
A great element in this story is Baron Bombastus Vonn Hohenheim – which may be the greatest name ever
. He is more than a worthy adversary for Moriarty. He surpasses
him. The baron defeated Moriarty in the first issue and makes spot on observations of his character in this issue, which brings some suspense to the series by making the Baron more threatening. His frequent interactions with his servant Gustav in this series are always a somewhat uncomfortable mixture of entertaining and grim. At one time the baron complains about how he doesn’t like messes… while he’s covered in blood. Then, while bantering with Gustav, who is understandably nervous about a dog hooked up to electrodes, is soothed by the Baron who comments at least the “electrodes aren’t attached to testicles.” This may have been my favorite line of dialogue in the entire issue.
The illustrations were done by Daniel Indro. It’s the standard Dynamite Entertainment fare: basic backgrounds and distracting overly lined faces and clothes. Then there are moments when the background noticeably changes to a solid color, like red, for no reason. Most of Indro’s quirks are distracting and none too pleasing to look at. The only quality I noticed about it which I enjoyed was how characters were placed in the panels. You could tell how far apart characters were supposed to be from each other, making many panels feel 3-dimensional and not just on one plane.
This issue surpasses the first issue. In only a little over a page it uses Moriarty’s narration to catch you up on the story, so it becomes unnecessary to read the first issue. You can jump in with this issue, and I recommend doing so if you’re a fan of Moriarty and enjoyed the Image Comics series.
- Better than the first issue
- Great villain
- Solid characters
- Potentially interesting relationship between Moriarty and Ubu
- Villain outshines the hero
- Story isn't unique
- Dialogue goes on too long sometimes
- Artwork is sub-par