Sherlock Holmes Moriarty Lives #1 Review

by @Tom_Kray on Dec 13, 2013

The world's greatest detective dead, while his greatest foe pulls himself back from the brink of oblivion to rebuild his criminal empire.

The Good

Though not a long book, Sherlock Holmes Moriarty Lives wastes no time getting started and the accompanying artwork is perfectly suited to the story; dark and detailed, it gives the sense that you’re seeing the world through Moriarty’s eyes. Fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original works will be familiar with the significance of the Reichenbach falls where the story begins with Moriarty pulling himself out the river and immediately setting forth to rebuild his criminal empire with a single-mindedness that is by no accident reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes himself.

This book is a rare glimpse into Moriarty without the lens of Watson’s narration and what we see is that what separates Moriarty from Holmes is just a fraction of a degree. He is uncaring, calculating, and ready to use violence at a moment’s notice and use it well.

Right away the book sets forth the foundation for what will be coming down the line, a mysterious fog in the town that frightens the citizens so much they are unwilling to speak to Moriarty about it, and a power-hungry baron who knows Moriarty on sight.

The Not So Good

So much of this first issue is about setting up Moriarty’s character, which it does well as first but strays before the end of the book. From canon, we know that Moriarty is ruthless killer without a conscience. In this issue he is overly fond of a dying tavern-keeper and acts as if he is bound by the promise he made to protect her son. Even if his motivation is to take what the baron is after, we get none of that from him, despite the reader’s ability to know what Moriarty is thinking. The effect is it seems like Liss is trying to make Moriarty a more likable protagonist but the effect is an inconsistent Moriarty, which is particularly disappointing given how short the book is.

The Bottom Line

A fun sort of book for Sherlock Holmes fans but a middle of the road start for a new series. My interest in knowing what happens next feels like it's driven by my investment in the world of Sherlock Holmes rather than the book itself. I think this story has a lot of potential but at a shelf-price of $3.99 I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it. This is a flip through before you buy. I’ll be picking up issue two but it’s going to need to make up for lost ground if for me to go beyond that.

2.7 / 5
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Sherlock Holmes Moriarty Lives #1
Released December 11, 2013
Writer David Liss
Artist Daniel Indro
Cover Artist Francesco Francavilla

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