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Comic Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #2
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Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #2Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #2
Written by Leah Moore and John Reppion
Illustrated by Matt Triano
Colored by Brennan Wagner
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Covers by Francesco Francavilla
Dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Dynamite Entertainment
Release Date: February 20, 2012
Cover Price: $3.99

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon is a five-issue miniseries from Dynamite Entertainment that gives us a new mystery-adventure from the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his trusted companion Dr. Watson.

In The Liverpool Demon #1, we see the crime-solving duo far from their Baker St. London flat finishing up what looks like a really interesting case Liverpool, England. While Holmes and Watson planned to return home once the job was done, they bump into one of the doctor’s old acquaintances and his colleagues, who convince them to delay their departure until later in the day, though Holmes seems none too pleased about it. While they dine inside, a terrifying creature bounds through the city, leaping across rooftops during an electrical storm, frightening the citizens, who refer to it as “Spring-heeled Jack.”

The Liverpool Demon #2 picks up the next day with Holmes and Watson being stuck in Liverpool after the railways become flooded from the storm. After Holmes reads in the newspaper that an elderly man – who we saw being attacked by local hooligans in the first issue – was found dead with claw marks indicating that he was mauled, he decides to stay in the city a bit longer so he and Watson can get in on the investigation.

Writers Leah Moore and John Reppion so far are giving us an intriguing story with this miniseries, although the first issue was a bit more thrilling than this second installment. While the murder investigation and the mystery of Spring-heeled Jack are compelling, whenever the story moves to the hooligans, who are henchman in an underground crime lord, the dialogue gets muddy, thanks to their heavy Liverpool slang. There was also a particularly disturbing scene with a violent and bloody dogfight that I didn’t enjoy, but that’s because I’m sensitive to anything pertaining to animal abuse.

If cover art is your thing, the cover by Francesco Francavilla will definitely draw you in. The interior art by Matt Triano is done well and nicely conveys a Victorian-era city filled with seedy people and shady dealings. It’s exactly what you’d expect for a story like this one. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of characters to familiarize yourself with, so sometimes keeping track of them all gets confusing and the art doesn’t always help you to differentiate among them.

In only two issues, there’s a lot going on in the story and it’s still unclear exactly what case, besides the murder of the elderly man, Holmes will be solving. It’s not a cut and dry mystery and I find myself paying attention to even the most mundane facts, like the plans for an above-ground railway, since I suspect they will come into play in a future issue. One thing is clear: this is a serious Sherlock Holmes tale. It’s not simply a scenario where Holmes examines evidence or investigates a crime scene and immediately comes up with a conclusion; here, the danger feels real, although there’s lots of alluding to the supernatural.

This miniseries is something I’d probably prefer to read in trade, as I found myself having to re-read having to reread the first issue after getting through the second issue. I’d rather read it all at once, but that’s my preference with most comic book series. This is a mystery, though, so if you dig the suspense, then reading the series in single-issue will be enjoyable.

If you want to get in on this series, you can order or pre-order the single-issues online at a 10%-20% discount:

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #1 [December 12, 2012]
Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #2 [February 20, 2013]
Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #3 [March 13, 2013]
Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4 [April 03, 2013]
Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #5 [April 03, 2013]

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