Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Moriarty #1

Moriarty #1
Written by Daniel Corey
Art by Anthony Diecidue
Lettering by Dave Lanphear
Published by Image Comics
Review by Lan Pitts

I am sure almost everybody knows of Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty: one of the greatest literary rivalries of all time. Yet, what is a villain without a hero? Moriarty takes a peek at what happened when the fateful death to both Homles and his arch-nemesis, turned out to just end Holmes and left Moriarty wandering for a purpose. In his travels and life without an adversary, the legendary professor has evolved into something that mirrors Holmes. The idea intrigued me and was immediately sucked in.

The book starts has an interesting timeline, and is set during pre-WWI, around the time of the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, and talks of his killing and the association with the Black Hand are the talk of the nation. We see Moriarty, now under the alias of Trumbold, working as a somewhat businessman that still carries some ties to the criminal underworld. Without Holmes, Moriarty has become complacent and a little bored.

It's not long before the government comes around and asks for his services to find Sherlock's brother, Mycroft. Who is he to refuse the chance to hunt down another Holmes? Better yet, they are aware of who he is and what he is capable of. This is where the story picks up its stride. We see inside the mind of Moriarty, we see his tactics, his self-imposed rules of getting things done. Doyle wrote Moriarty as the equivalent to Holmes and now we see why that is. The hung for Mycroft leads the reader and the old professor into a series of events that hint at a bigger picture, and the fact he soon as a shadowy figure of his own to conquer.

I do love the touch of knowledge Daniel Corey brings to the script, however, where I think the story falters, and this is me nitpicking here because I did rather enjoy it, is the actual narrative. To quote a line from Amadeus, "there are too many notes". While Dave Lanphear executes the lettering layout wonderfully, I think somethings just did not need to be said as they were specifically shown via Anthony Diecidue's art. While I do understand that this is Moriarty's story, but at the same time, I think most readers could deduce what is going on.

Speaking of Anthony Diecidue's art, this is a perfect example of a great collaboration of story and artist. Even in the slower parts of the issue, Diecidue elevates the bits with his mysterious tone with heavy sketch lines and rendering that give this early Guy Davis vibe. The layouts and scenery in old London town have an edge of macabre with lots of shadowy effects that perfectly set the stage for a mystery.

Moriarty is a great example of something that is for people who are not really into superheroics or mega-events. With the Big Two both with event-heavy series, this could be the one for people who want to try something a bit different from the norm. I can't wait to see where this goes.

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