In Review: Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives #5

The cover: This is another piece by Francesco Francavilla that looks unfinished. Two-thirds of the cover has Moriarty in coat and top hat. He’s sporting a recently used knife,...

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The cover: This is another piece by Francesco Francavilla that looks unfinished. Two-thirds of the cover has Moriarty in coat and top hat. He’s sporting a recently used knife, the proof being the dead body left on the cobblestones. There’s also a carriage and a vague outline of a building. Four colors are used: grey, white, black, and red. The latter highlights Moriarty’s blade and the splatter of blood on his person and in the sky. This looks like a sketch in need of finishing. Overall grade: C

The story: Everything comes to a head in this final issue from writer David Liss. Moriarty has killed the mayor of the town under orders from Bombastus Von Hohenheim. After doing so, he spots a citizen he knows with a carriage and asks a favor. At the Von Hohenheim mansion, Bombastus has begun to torture young Udo who was caught trying to open his master’s safe. The painful interrogation is halted when two servants arrive stating some townspeople have arrived on the grounds bearing the mayor’s body. Bombastus leaves Udo in the care of the servant whose left eye the boy gouged out last issue. Can you guess what’s going to happen? Outside, the townspeople place the mayor’s death on Von Hohenheim who promised to take care of them. A miracle occurs at the bottom of Page 4 that sparks a riot. A timely arrival on 6 saves one individual and dooms another. The response in the third panel on 6 is brilliantly wicked, as is the action on 9. I love the props that Moriarty has on Page 13, which instantly gave him some refinement. The props were used as I expected on 15, but I enjoyed the moment nonetheless. The bold action on 19 is absolutely fitting. I am completely lost with what is revealed in the third and fourth panels on 22, but I think this is due to the art not highlighting it correctly. The final panel has the dialogue I knew would be uttered and it made me immensely happy. A solid conclusion to a smartly written series. Overall grade: A

The art: This book suffers tremendously because of the art. Carlos Furuzono excels at characters, to the fault of all else. His establishment shot of Moriarty on the first page is excellent. However in panel two, where a setting is required, it’s a vague sketch and that gun looks as though it’s floating. The third panel, an exterior, is worse. Page 2 has a sensational Bombastus and a decent Udo, but, again, the exterior, the mansion, is pretty sketchy. Pages 3 and 4 look great. The third panel on Page 5 has the focus erroneously placed on a surprisingly unimpressed group and not on the speaker. This group’s faces in the fourth panel give no indication for their actions in the next panel. Backgrounds disappear until Page 9, and then vanish (save some bars) until 16. I dare any reader not to think of a climatic scene from Return of the Jedi upon looking at Page 12. This should have been laid out completely differently. The first panel on 17 is so simply drawn it’s an embarrassment to this story. Worst of all, I have no idea at what changes Moriarty’s opinion on the final page. The first two panels should have been smaller. This is very disappointing art for such a good story. Overall grade: D

The colors: With a lack of backgrounds, Josan Gonzalez has to play fill in the blank, and he often does so with bright colors that seem odd. For example, in previous issues the antagonist’s laboratory has been eerily green, but bright yellow is used at the bottom of 2. Why? Who turned on the lights? The exteriors of the mansion are fine in teal, but once back in the lab, mustard and orange are used (Page 6). Look at the backgrounds on 7 and 8–This is like the original Star Trek’s kicky nouveau Technicolor sets. I was left befuddled by Gonzalez’s choices. Overall grade: C-

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), sounds, screams, and scene settings are created by Joshua Cozine and they are done well. Overall grade: B+

By Patrick Hayes

The final line: An exceptional story undone by the art. I look forward to whatever David Liss writes next. Overall grade: C

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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