Titan Comics has managed to make several Doctor Who ongoing series and limited series to tell stories that you couldn’t get on TV. For Sherlock, Titan has taken a different approach. The company is reprinting a manga adaptation of the Sherlock pilot that was originally published by Japan by Kadokawa. Essentially, it’s Steven Moffat‘s script, as envisioned by the artist known as Jay., who includes that period with his name.
This is both a strength and a weakness for the manga. It’s got a great story, but it’s one that you already know by heart if you’re a fan of the show. Every single dramatic beat of the “A Study in Pink” script is here, almost painstakingly so. This is a mystery story without the mystery, if you’re even remotely familiar with the source material.
But if the first two issues of the translated Sherlock manga convince someone who hasn’t seen the show to check it out, then it would be hard to argue with the results. The first few pages of Sherlock #2 even read like a television show recap, as John Watson recounts his war history and his first encounter with Sherlock Holmes at their famous address: 221 B Baker Street.
Much like he was on the TV show, Watson is the focal point of this chapter, as he is thrust headlong into the world of his new roommate and partner. Jay. does a particularly good job of capturing the emotions in the faces of Watson, and even Sherlock. Watson is the more emotive of the two, but there is a certain unsettling glee that Sherlock derives from his unofficial job as a “consulting detective.” And he’s a little too excited when he realizes that there’s a serial killer who has somehow convinced his victims to commit suicide.
Because Jay. isn’t bound by the visual constraints of live action television, there are a few occasions when he manages to create a more interesting take on Watson wrestling with his inner demons and Sherlock’s almost unbridled excitement when he thinks about the possibilities that a new serial killer represents. Jay. is unquestionably a great artist, but it’s hard not to wish that he had an original Sherlock story to work with. He captures the nuances of the characters so well that it seems wasteful to limit him to a tale that’s already been told. Granted, there aren’t many who could easily recreate the style of Moffat and his writing partner, Mark Gatiss. But other writers have been telling Sherlock Holmes stories for decades, and it would be very intriguing to see more stories in this world as drawn by Jay., if that was possible. We can recommend this issue on the strength of Jay.’s artwork alone and for Moffat’s script, but we’d still love to see more from an eventual Sherlock comic.
RATING: 3 OUT OF 5 BURRITOS
What did you think about Sherlock: A Study in Pink #2? Should Jay. get the chance to work on an all-new Sherlock adventure? Share your thoughts and deductions in the comment section below!
Images: Titan Comics/Kadokawa/BBC