I picked up issue one of Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi’s Watson And Holmes at Comixology. Karl Bollers was new to me. I’d try another book by him but I don’t think I’ll be back for more of Watson And Holmes. There was a lot I liked about the issue. Watson is reimagined not as an experienced doctor but as a younger man. He’s still a veteran and a medic but this Watson is younger, more agile. I liked the visual concept of Watson, who had almost a Richard Roundtree feel to his presentation. We meet Watson on a challenging night, the sort of night where not everyone can be saved and you’re not even sure why they had to be. It’s an evening in the ER that could break a man.
Holmes arrives in a true Sherlock fashion. He’s slightly impatient with the lack of insight others provide. What keeps me from moving forward with this series is how much Holmes reminded me of Willy Wonka. This Holmes isn’t weary or tired by the idiocy of others, he’s energized. He leaves clues for Watson to puzzle out and waits to act until Watson is well snared. I didn’t emotionally connect to Holmes. The guy is basically in a Miami Vice suit and a fedora on the cover. In the pages, he’s wearing a suit and vest combo with a professor plaid scarf. Visually I didn’t get Sherlock Holmes off that. There’s a standard women in peril situation left as a cliffhanger. This Holmes isn’t terribly interested in her survival, he just wants to play the game. That’s fine for him but I felt Watson deserved more.
Bollers and Leonardi do an excellent job of translating other standard aspects of the Holmes world into modern Harlem. The street children Sherlock is known for are still here, as is his adoring yet overly involved landlady. If this series were called Watson I’d be up for another go, but Holmes is too off-putting to command more investment from me. A deeper initial mystery would have gone a long way to overcoming my Holmes aversion. The situation may flip in issue two, but I’m well past Woman In Danger as my introductory plot line.
Final Assessment: Great art, wonderful Watson, but Holmes is a snooze. C+
Source: Purchased Copy