Sherlock Holmes: the Liverpool Demon


ANDREW GARVEY says five-part comic book series The Liverpool Demon is rip-roaring supernatural Sherlock Holmes fest
You know those irksome people who really, really like Sherlock Holmes but have somehow, unaccountably read very few of Conan Doyle’s stories?
Well, I’m one of them.
Sorry. I’ve read a few and greatly enjoyed them but I’m far more familiar with the more recent TV adaptations (both Jeremy Brett’s gleefully overreacted version and Benedict Cumberbatch’s clever-clever updating) than the original written words.
Having long since passed into the public domain, and being such a fantastic character with instant name recognition, it’s no surprise to find so many books, films, and yes, comic books featuring Holmes and his doctor friend and chronicler, Watson. And these are the kind of more modern works ‘my’ Holmes is largely based on.
Co-written by husband-and-wife team Alan Reppion and Leah (daughter of cranky comics legend Alan) Moore, Liverpool Demon is a rip-roaring supernaturally-tinged Holmes and Watson adventure in five richly illustrated instalments from Dynamite Entertainment. Moore and Reppion’s second Holmes adventure (the Trial of Sherlock Holmes was released in comic book form in 2009), this five part miniseries was first published in 2012 and 2013.
In Liverpool wrapping up the case of a globe-trotting murderess, our heroes are invited to dinner by and old friend of Dr Watson.
While dining, and after Holmes has showed off his detective skills as being equal to that of any medium (an intriguing reference given both Conan Doyle’s interest in spiritualism and foreshadowing for a later issue) they see something unusual scaling walls and leaping about on the city’s rooftops.
Sherlock Homes The Liverpool Demon
Predictably, and believably, the press set about their sensationalist business, dubbing the mysterious figure (which also appears to have killed an old man and left deep claw marks in his back) a fire-breathing beast, a ‘Spring-Heeled Jack’.
Abandoning plans to return to London, Holmes decides to track down this Liverpool Demon, a decision that drags him into a bizarre and gory mystery.
Moore and Reppion have crafted a compelling story stuffed with sub-plots and strong characters. Villainous gangster and pimp Drummond and Inspector Thornton, the brutishly effective Irish copper outmatched by Holmes’ intellect are worthy of their own story.
Their Holmes is, of course a genius but most pleasingly, their Watson is a fine partner for him – a crack shot and handy with his fists.
Their story, complemented perfectly by artist Matt Triano’s rain-and-bloodsoaked late Victorian England of gangsters and hardnut coppers, dogfights and whores, is a highly recommended one.


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