These days, everybody seems to be doing a Sherlock Holmes story. There are the movies with Robert Downey Jr. There’s the TV show, Sherlock, and its American counterpart, Elementary. There’s the new Ian McKellen movie, Mr. Holmes, and the novel it was based on, A Slight Trick of the Mind. There was even a comic that I reviewed a couple of years ago called Murder at Oxford, which cast Holmes and Watson as female college students in the 1980s. With all of these Holmes stories coming out left and right, it would be easy to write this one off as, “Not ANOTHER one!” however, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution predates the current Holmes craze by a couple of decades. And, of all the many Sherlock Holmes stories not penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, this one is widely considered to be the best.
Based on a 1974 novel by Nicholas Meyer, we begin in 1939, with a very old Watson relating one last Holmes story. Ostensibly, it’s the story of The Final Problem, wherein Holmes meets and ultimately destroys his nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Only something is different. Rather than the sharp-witted detective we’ve come to know and love, Holmes’ mind is addled by cocaine. He’s paranoid and even delusional, which makes both Watson and the audience wonder: Is there really a Professor Moriarty running London’s entire criminal underground, or is it all just a product of Holmes’ drug-fueled imagination?
I admittedly haven’t read the novel on which this comic is based, but I am at least peripherally familiar with it, as there was a copy on my family’s bookshelf for years. I always meant to read it, but somehow never got around to it. Now that I’ve finally begun the story, I’m hooked.
I just wrote another review about how delicate the process is of writing a story featuring someone else’s characters. Though there are plenty of Sherlock Holmes stories out there now, by a myriad of authors, not all of them are good, worthwhile, or worthy of the name Holmes. This one is, at least so far. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, this is a comic not to be missed. Can’t wait to see how things play out from here . . .