IDW Publishing 2015
Adapted by David & Scott Tipton
Illustrated by Ron Joseph
Coloured by Jordi Escuin
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson have thrilled audiences since they were first introduced and remain some of the most iconic literary characters. Different people have tackled their stories in different ways some focusing on the pair’s relationship others on the cases but here we get something so much more. The characters and the story to be told, Watson’s very last recanting of Sherlock’s most hidden adventure combines everything the mythos hold about them. Taking the character to brink of madness from which it seems he can hardly return from.
That this story takes place with an elderly and somewhat infirm, arthritic and wheelchair bound, Dr. John Watson in 1939 recanting to a young woman whose job it is to tell this final tale was an astonishing way to begin. Also that this story couldn’t be told till it’s two main players were both among the deceased means that now is the time for him to tell. Before time runs out and he isn’t able to tell it at all. With a quick recap of his relationship to Sherlock and the way the man was able to keep his emotions from the outside world are told extremely well.
I also have to say Ron and Jordi do some amazing work on the interiors. I absolutely love the attention to detail throughout the issue. From the interiors of the residences to the lush green outdoors with the facial expressions and the folds in the clothing it all has this sense of life to it. Then there’s also this gaunt haunting look to Holmes that really hammers home just how desperate the situation with him is. No longer that strong confident man but a hollow shell of his former self captures the mind and attention so you have that need to read onward.
What would the final Sherlock Holmes story told by Dr. Watson be if it didn’t surround itself with Professor Moriarty? Though Sherlock’s obsession with the elusive Moriarty and his addiction to cocaine don’t blend well and at the time of this conversation even Dr. Watson thought that this the ramblings of a drug induced episode. In the morning however Sherlock is adamant that Moriarty was never mentioned thus creating a larger discord between his reality and Watson’s.
In a convenient turn of events Dr. Watson has his first encounter with Professor Moriarty and I have to tell you this was exceptionally well played. Much of that was within the writing but a huge part was in the artwork and Moriarty’s facial expressions. This encounter however does lead Dr. Watson to an old colleague, the one who introduced him to Holmes to begin with, where they talk about cocaine and that the medical community knows so little about addiction. I found it interesting however that soon it would be illegal without a prescription was mentioned and how far the drug has come since.
Now how does Dr. Watson put his plan into motion to get Holmes the help he needs? He’s received a telegram from a Doctor in Vienna willing to take on the case but he also needs the help of Mycroft to get Holmes there.
All the pieces are in place for a story that encompasses the entirety of Sherlock Holmes life and career. Just remember the old saying “you aren’t paranoid if they are out to get you” does still apply. Gripping, emotional and reverent this is the story fans of the pair have been waiting for.