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‘Sherlock Holmes and the Empire Builders: Gene Gene’ Vol. One OGN (review)

Written by Joel Meadows
Art by Andy Bennett
Published by Tripwire Comics


There’s been a bunch of different stories and a bunch of different versions of Sherlock Holmes over the years. That goes for comic books, movies, plays, and even books. There is a new comic that has just come out that is yet another version of the character. I immediately wondered if this was something I might like or if it is something that I was going to roll my eyes about.

I gave it a read and luckily, I found it to be a pretty mightily engaging read from start to finish.

There is a sort of assassination attempt that begins the book. It almost seems political in nature. This leads into some bigger things that come to light as the book goes on.

I love the opening scenes as it really sets the book up for a bigger payoff in possible future chapters, if played right.

Then, we meet Sherlock himself.

When we first see Sherlock, he is working alone, as Watson is no longer in his employ. We slowly learn that they had a falling out of some sort, and their relationship is a bit strained. Sherlock seems almost sentimental about times past and where he is presently. We see him travel back to Baker Street to retrieve an artifact, something that will give him a point of reference to his current predicament. That artifact is a diary. The diary becomes very important as the book goes on.

Also, when we first see Sherlock, he is a bit different than the character we have come to know over the years. This one is a bit more world weary and more than a little bit jaded and cynical. But he is still very sharp and he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty for sure.

Sherlock is also a lot more paranoid than you might remember. As he starts navigating this brave new world we find him in, we are able to learn a lot about his environment. We get to learn about this future world as Sherlock learns about it, giving the reader a geographical reference point for each of the set pieces. It is well thought out and I like the intricate world building that is happening here for sure.

This Sherlock Holmes book takes place completely in a science fiction universe. I really enjoyed that take right off the bat.

The story continues with Watson asking Sherlock to help Crick to unravel the DNA Helix. They have a meeting and Watson basically asks for Sherlock’s helps.

This sets the story up and it is a nice scene, full of emotion as the two men are at different points in their lives. There is a respect there for sure, but something has clearly happened between them.

So Sherlock does what Sherlock does: he investigates.

He puts together some of the clues. He tries to determine what the event at the beginning of the book means. As he does so, he gets deeper and deeper into working with the mysterious group at the center of the book to fight an even bigger threat. Sherlock isn’t happy working with them but he doesn’t have much of a choice. If he doesn’t, the world won’t get to maintain its status quo.

Things don’t get solved easily in this book. That is part of the fun and also a bit of the frustration of reading this first chapter. Many things are set up and the ending of the book finds Holmes in not such a great place.

Even crazier, it is looking like they are setting up Watson to be an adversary for Holmes. There is a lot of set up, and I will have to wait to see if the pay off will be worth it. It is definitely looking like it might be though.

The writing by Joel Meadows is very strong. He’s got a lot of “voice over” here on the page, but he makes it work very well. It is never bland or boring, but always rather focused instead. It is well written for sure. The artwork by Andy Bennett is strong as well. It is never flashy for flashy sake, and instead it tells the story very well. I enjoyed this first chapter and will definitely be seeing the story through until the end, no matter where it goes.


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