I hesitate to say that Sherlock Holmes, the famously brilliant and proficient detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, has ever fallen out of popularity, but we are certainly living in a time of heightened interest in Holmes when it comes to the pop culture scene. Between television programs like the BBC’s Sherlock and CBS’ Elementary, feature films like Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (and its sequels), and graphic novels like Image Comics’ Moriarty, there’s no drought of exciting content to devour for fans of the world-famous detective and his various capers. Now, I, Holmes (written by Michael Lent and illustrated by Dan Parsons) can be added to the list of comic book options for Sherlock fans searching for their next fix, offering a modern-day, gender-swapped version of the detective from 221B Baker Street.
The first issue of I, Holmes sets up a tale that features both the recognizable and the unfamiliar for fans of Sherlock Holmes. Set in New York City in the year 2009, Lent’s script establishes an (almost) current-day Holmes in the form of an eighteen-year-old British young woman known simply as “I. Rose.” While Rose is, in reality, the 5th generation granddaughter of the world-famous detective, she knows little to nothing about her past (perhaps for her own protection), having been left as an infant on a church’s doorstep and currently residing at the Greenville Youth Group Home. Rose certainly shares her famous relative’s impressive powers of deduction and uses them several times throughout the first issue to the benefit of herself and others. The rough-and-tumble street youth is less like the refined and bizarre gentleman that Holmes was and comes off more like a blend between Sherlock and XXX.
When it comes to the Parsons’ interior visuals in I, Holmes, it’s clear that the artist has talent, successfully illustrating both action-packed scenes and quieter emotional moments adequately, but there’s also a noticeable stiffness at several points when it comes depicting the body language and anatomy of Lent’s characters. It’s not an overpowering flaw, but it is undeniable in more than one scene in the first issue. I, Holmes does benefit from Parsons’ coloring skills and the inclusion of an exciting and stylish cover from artist Marc Rene (who previously teamed with Lent on the sci-fi comic book, The Machine Stops). You can read a Fanbase Press review of Issue #1 and Issue #2 of that series at the links provided.
FINAL VERDICT: Hardcore Sherlock Holmes fans might get a kick out of the first issue of I, Holmes, but less obsessive fans of the world-famous detective might not be hooked by the slow burn that Lent’s script delivers. While the premise is an interesting one, as mentioned previously, there are a lot of great versions of Holmes already available to readers and fans, and I, Holmes #1, at times, struggles to compete with the charm of these other versions of the master detective. There’s still clearly a lot of story and background to role out about Lent’s lead character, I. Rose, so perhaps the creative team will find their “pace” in the next few issues, something that’s not uncommon in the comic book format.
I, Holmes is published by Alterna, so you can find out more about book by visiting the official website.
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers!
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer