Archive for Watson and Holmes

Love and Secrets


Astro City #7

It’s the beginning of a new storyarc focusing on Winged Victory, the Samaritan, and the Confessor. While Winged Victory’s and Samaritan’s relationship seems to be going swimmingly, someone is plotting against the heroine — a group of supervillains have claimed to be working directly for her. Winged Victory has always been a controversial figure in the world of Astro City, and the media is completely eager to believe she’s a secret supervillain. Mixed into all this is an abused teenaged boy who wants to learn self-defense from Winged Victory, plus we learn W.V.’s secret origin.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A great story, wonderful art, great characterization, and an excellent mystery. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where this is going to lead over the next few months.


Batman: Li’l Gotham #9

Batman and Robin have to track down Clayface as he hides out in the Gotham City Comic Con. Can the Dynamic Duo find the shapeshifting villain in the maze of cosplayers, and will Robin be able to hunt down all the cool toys he wants? And in the second story, we meet Jenna Duffy, the Carpenter for Gotham’s underworld. She’s trying to take a vacation day, but all the villains keep bugging her to rebuild stuff wrecked by Batman. Is she ever going to get the free time she needs?

Verdict: Thumbs up, of course. The art is great, the stories are fun. And there’s a cool little bonus at the end of the first story for anyone bummed about the nonexistence of their favorite characters in the New 52.


Mighty Avengers #4

The Inhumans’ city of Attilan has crashed in New York, exposing people around the world who have some Inhuman ancestry to the mutagenic Terrigen mists, and various unsavory characters want to get their hands on anything hidden in the city’s ruins. Meanwhile, the Falcon joins up with the Mighty Avengers, Spider Hero adopts the costumed identity of Ronin (even though we all know he’s actually Blade), and the Superior Spider-Man has decided he wants control of the team.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice story, fun dialogue and characterization, some excellent humor, too. The worst thing about it is, of course, the fact that no one has fired Greg Land from Marvel yet.


Watson and Holmes #6

Someone has killed the wife of Dexter Wainwright, a prominent NYC politician who’s been an inspiration to many in Harlem but whose campaign is plagued by money troubles. Holmes and Watson are on the case — while Holmes suspects Wainwright, Watson wants to see him freed from suspicion because he’s done so much for the community. A key link in the case proves to be a woman named Dominique Jiminez who is being pursued by the Russian mob. What’s her connection to Wainwright, and who is the killer?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A very well-done mystery, nice characterization and dialogue, and a excellent author’s note at the end in which Brandon M. Easton talks about how and why he wrote this particular story. I’m really pleased with how thoroughly enjoyable this series has been.

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Arch of Destiny


Manifest Destiny #1

What we’ve got here is a revision of the story of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the explorers who explored the Western United States for President Jefferson. While the real-life Lewis and Clark mapped the Louisiana Purchase, laid claim to new territories, and traveled all the way to the Pacific Ocean, this version of Lewis and Clark have a secret agenda. Their expedition consists of Army volunteers and pardoned convicts, none of them aware that Jefferson has asked their leaders to look for monsters to kill. Monsters? Is President Jefferson crazy? There’s no such thing as monsters, right? Well, it wouldn’t be much of a story if there weren’t any, would it?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I had no real plans to pick this one up, but the preview dragged me in with just this one image:


Yeah, it’s the Gateway Arch, over 150 years early and made out of plants. Kinda had to see what the big deal was after that.

Characterization is very nice — Lewis is the artistic intellectual, Clark the officious military man, and Jensen, one of the convicts, is devious and much smarter than he lets on. The action, when it finally makes it into the comic, is outstanding, and the mystery is wonderfully intriguing. Hopefully, future issues will deliver on what this one promises.


Coffin Hill #2

Eve Coffin, disgraced witch and disgraced cop, has returned to her family’s mansion, hoping to atone for her too-casual use of black magic when she was a girl. Back then, her magic caused one friend to go mad and another to vanish mysteriously — and her kinda-sorta boyfriend, who skipped out on the fateful ritual, has now become a police officer, too. Eve wants to help find some kids who’ve gone missing in the woods, using her police instincts and her knowledge of black magic. Can Eve track down the clues she needs? Or is the malign force hiding in the forest going to claim her, too?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A lot of great mood going on in this one. And I really like the one-black-eye look that Eve is rocking.


Watson and Holmes #5

Holmes and Watson are investigating a rash of cases where abandoned babies have been found in dumpsters. Most have survived — there’s been only one death. Soon, they manage to track down the mother of the dead baby, and she tells them that her doctor had taken the kid for adoption, but soon suspected her of being dishonest. The police arrest the doctor — only to learn that it’s the wrong doctor! Who’s been masquerading as a doctor and stealing babies? And why does the press want to protect the baby thief?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great, self-contained mystery with another batch of excellent characters. Not a lot of action in this one — but listen, if you need action in all your mysteries, you’re doin’ mysteries wrong. Mysteries are cerebral, man.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Unfortunately, it may be time to take Brian Wood off the list of comics creators who are worth reading, because this story is about a guy who is absolute scum.
  • Allie Brosh reads from her new book and does a Q&A session. This is hilarious, at least partly because she keeps cracking herself up with her own story.
  • This is a much cooler tradition than “The Elf on the Shelf.”
  • Steve Jackson — of Steve Jackson Games — writes about getting flooded out of his home.
  • Apparently, the Washington Times is absolutely scared out of its wits by comic books.

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Nails in the Coffin


Coffin Hill #1

Today, Eve Coffin is a heroic Boston cop who just captured a serial killer known as the Ice Fisher — until she has a run-in shortly after her great success with a furious former friend with a gun. And ten years ago, Eve was the pampered punk-rock daughter of the scandalously wealthy and notoriously rotten Coffin family. While her family preferred more mainstream debauchery, Eve had a fondness for the occult, which leads to her spending a dark night before Halloween hanging out with friends and reading from an old spellbook. But the next morning, Even woke up covered in blood and dead rodents to find one friend mysteriously vanished and another completely insane. And now, fresh from the scandal of being shot in the head by a friend, Eve has returned to her family homestead on Coffin Hill.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A cool story from Caitlin Kittredge and a wonderful shot of horror to start the Halloween season. A nice merging of misguided youth, wealthy decadence, and cop drama, too. And weird, weird, weird, so much creepy, low-grade weird, like a really quiet turn-of-the-century New England ghost story. Outstanding art from Inaki Miranda, too.


Red Sonja #4

While Dark Annisia holds the town captive and kills anyone who tries to escape, still insisting in her delusions that the town is afflicted with the plague and that vengeful ghosts offer her counsel, Red Sonja is being dragged back from the wilderness to be cured. But blinded by fever, will she be able to fend off an attack by sea-going savages?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action, drama, artwork — just an all-around fun fantasy comic. Never thought I’d be enjoying this so much.


Watson and Holmes #4

Pinned down on a roof by a sniper, Holmes, Watson, and drug-dealing preacher Darius Rice are in deep trouble. But with the preacher dead and the final piece of the puzzle in place, Holmes must deal with a bit of brutal blackmail from the mercenaries who want the case buried. Is there any chance to both survive and solve the mystery?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Some more excellent twists on the mystery, along with plenty of drama and great dialogue. And I’m glad to see it looks like this series will continue — both of our heroes have set up shop in familiar 221B Baker Street and are ready to take on more cases…


X-Men #6

Grrrarr, crossovers!

It turns out the X-Men from the future are actually the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Wolverine gets stabbed in the stomach by a son he apparently had with Mystique — and his healing factor has gone bye-bye, so he could actually bleed to death. Future Jean Grey and Future Xavier brain-zap multiple X-Men, Jubilee goes vampire to fight ’em off. Psylocke bashes Future Iceman to pieces. Cyclops’ band of mutant supremacist X-Men show up with the real Future X-Men, and learn that one of them is actually Shogo, Jubilee’s adopted kid, grown to adulthood.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Grrrarr, crossovers! And I don’t believe that Molly Hayes would ever turn evil.

Today’s Cool Links:

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The Nobodies Save the Day


Astro City #4

This standalone issue focuses on Martha “Sully” Sullivan, an older woman with telekinetic powers. She’s not a superhero or a supervillain — she works in the movie business, helping make special effects look convincing. There are quite a few folks like her — superpowered people who are better suited to civilian jobs, either because their powers fill an employment niche or because they simply have no interest in doing hero-vs.-villain stuff. Sully knows superstrong people who work in construction, telepaths who work as employment consultants or DJs, fire controllers who work as glass blowers. But someone is targeting Sully and her friends, planning to make them work toward world conquest. Can anything save these low-powered civilians?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, a great Astro City tale. Sully is yet another in a long, long line of cool characters Kurt Busiek has created for this series, and the story highlighting her and the other “Sideliners” is fun, unexpected, clever, and satisfying.


Watson and Holmes #3

Watson and Holmes take a break from solving mysteries to get lunch — with Sherlock’s big brother Mycroft, a heavy, suit-wearing, somewhat mysterious rich guy. He asks John to keep an eye on Sherlock and help rein in his obsessions. They also discover a photo of a tattoo on the arm of a dead mercenary involved in the murders — and John recognizes it from a design worn by some kill-crazy corporate soldiers in Afghanistan. And they soon find themselves being pursued by those same mercs while they try to save the life of the final victim on the hit list — Darius Rice, a local preacher and secret drug dealer. And they locate the preacher just in time to get ambushed by the mercs. What hope do the two of them have against a squad of professional killers?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really outstanding story going on here. Characterization, dialogue, action, mystery, and much more — and it’s still got that great Sherlock Holmes vibe going for it. This is a really fun comic, and I hope y’all are getting to read and enjoy this one.

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Watson and Holmes #2

Holmes and Watson manage to track down Shon’s kidnapped girlfriend, but they have to deal with the gunman guarding her. After they chase him down and get ready to interrogate him, someone shoots him in the head. Someone wants them off the case. But for now, Watson has to return to the hospital, and Holmes has his own avenues of investigation. After busting a few passwords on a smartphone, they discover that one of the people they’re trying to find is being executed live on the Internet — and the other target is missing. Can the sleuths find him? Or will they go eat lunch first?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story and art. The mystery is progressing nicely. Holmes doesn’t do quite as much flashy deductive work here, but his low-key electronics investigations end up being as impressive. The whole story has some significant differences from what we expect of Sherlock Holmes stories — while still being recognizably Holmesian. It’s good, fun comics.


Worlds’ Finest #15

Power Girl chases Desaad’s Parademons down a Boom Tube while Darkseid’s torturer starts working on Huntress. PeeGee fights her way through hordes of Parademons while Huntress makes her escape. But the fight against Desaad doesn’t go the way anyone expected.

Verdict: Ehh, not real sure. I’m not real thrilled with depowering Power Girl, unless the status quo is going to be restored pretty quickly. It’s not badly done, really, but it really didn’t feel like anything really exciting was going on.

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Holmes in Harlem


Watson and Holmes #1

I finally started watching the BBC’s recent “Sherlock” series a while back — and I highly recommend it to everyone, like right now, go watch it — and it’s helped get me more interested in alternative Sherlock Holmes stories. Which brings us to this little work of glory, which sets Sherlock and Watson in modern-day Harlem. Jon Watson is a medical intern — not actually a doctor, though everyone assumes he is — in Convent Emergency Center in Harlem, while Sherlock Holmes is a dreadlocked, fedora-wearing private eye on the trail of a missing woman. Watson gets involved in the case when a witness is admitted to the emergency center after a severe beating. Can the duo track the clues through a maze of underground dance clubs, drug kingpins, mercenaries, and cell phones to find the truth?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi do a great job with this one, with a great story, strong characterization, sweet art, and one of the best known fictional detectives transplanted into a setting I don’t think he’s ever been in before. I also love the hints at the other elements of the Holmes mythology — Mrs. Hudson runs Hudson’s Vintage Books and Vinyl downstairs from Holmes’ apartment, and the Baker Street Irregulars even make an appearance. If you’re a fan of Holmes, go pick this one up.


Wonder Woman #22

Wonder Woman, Zola, Zeke, and Hera have been transported to New Genesis — and they’ve been there three days while Diana recovered from her injuries in the fight with the First Born. Orion surprises them all by being much more submissive to Highfather than they expected. As the New Gods prepare to return Wonder Woman and crew to Earth, Highfather orders Zeke held on New Genesis, but Orion manages to return him to Earth. Once there, they find London besieged by the First Born, with Lennox apparently dead. Is there hope for anyone in this hopeless battle?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely done story — but I especially love Cliff Chiang’s vision of the Fourth World and New Genesis — clean, futuristic, architecturally and scientifically vast, but still distinctly Kirbyesque.

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