Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man #3



VanishingMan3Considering that in the stories written by his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes “is known for his proficiency with observation, forensic science, and logical reasoning that borders on the fantastic”, it was probably hard for this comic’s audience to believe that co-authors Leah Moore and John Reppion had ever actually read one of the former physician’s original novels. For despite this book’s titular character clearly being a competent consulting detective it’s difficult to imagine that the Strand Magazine’s incarceration of the amateur sleuth would ever completely forget that he’d sent one of his Baker Street Irregulars on an errand until one of the boy’s diminutive brethren enquires about his whereabouts some twenty-four hours later; “Wiggins? The boy I sent for my solution? I-I had quite forgotten. I sent him to Lloyd’s pharmacy, a fifteen minute walk. And this was yesterday morning?”

Admittedly, Holmes had been indulging in his nefarious “cocaine habit” when he had initially dispatched the street urchin from his room at Baker Street, and had subsequently been busy furiously chasing down a villain on foot during the mystery of the Michael Williams case. But even so, such exertions can hardly have compared to Sherlock’s “rather strenuous case in France” which left him bedridden at the beginning of “The Adventure of the Reigate Squire”, and even then the man’s indomitable “superhuman physical” stamina never permitted him to display such utter absent-mindedness regarding another person’s wellbeing.

Similarly as unbelievable is the British cultural icon’s sudden desperate desire to flee the scene of a chemist’s murder simply because his faithful friend, John Watson, berates him once again for sending a tiny child on apparently so obviously unsafe a chore. This act of emotional ‘cowardice’ genuinely beggars belief, yet incredibly pales in comparison to the detective’s next move which is to seek solace and refuge within the stiflingly smoky domain of an opium den.

Any fan of Doyle’s creation would well recall that the sleuth expressed a “strong disapproval” of such places in “The Man with the Twisted Lip”, so just why the husband and wife writing team felt Holmes would skulk to such a low point in order to “see the infinite complexity of the universe and [have] those complexities resolve themselves” to him is arguably madness. Unless of course, the more cynical bibliophile felt such a sequence was included simply to provide this publication with an excuse for a contrived punch-up, as the nefarious den’s oriental owner unsuccessfully attempts to murder Sherlock with the help of a pair of hired goons.

This article is the opinion of the author and does not represent the views of the site owner.


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For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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