Les Quatre de Baker Street, Tome 3

Les Quatre de Baker Street 3Summary: The adventures of the Baker Street Irregulars continue in the third volume of the award-winning comics series based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. It takes our young heroes from the elegant streets of uptown London to the sinister halls of Bedlam. Together, they’ll face new missions and new enemies.

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Les Quatre de Baker Street, Tome 3, by Jean-Blaise Djian, Olivier Legrand and David Etien 7.25

Tome 3 of ‘Les Quatre de Baker Street’ finds our under-aged trio (and cat!) sent out on a minor case that Sherlock Holmes can’t fit in his schedule because his attention is focused on arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. Their task: to tail a wealthy young man and provide Holmes with a list of his whereabouts, encounters, …etc.

Simple enough, right?

But then they get involved in trying to stop a kidnapping when the inn that the rich gentleman visits is torched by hoods as reprisals for the inn owner’s failure to repay a debt. Les Quatre must use all of their abilities and connections to protect and save the inn owner’s daughter – and the young man, who is enamoured with her.

This third volume continues where the last one left off, with a much more text-heavy approach to counter-balance Etien’s visual flair. Unfortunately, this tale doesn’t have to political warfare of the second volume, which added a captivating layer to that book. It does, however, discuss class differences in the context of its love story.

The art continues to impress, as Etien gets his groove on, and this time the book flows quite well – the speech bubbles issue from the last volume was nowhere to be found this time around. But, strangely enough, visual discrepancies still pop up from time to time, and this left me wondering if it’s a normal occurrence for a book of this scope.

Case-in-point:

The disembodied head: The top right corner of page 9, panel 2, finds a large disembodied head and a hand holding a mug. WTF? Where’s the rest of the body? I scanned the neighbouring panels to see if this was some sort of decoration inside the inn (I was admittedly grasping at straws!), but there’s no clue as to what that head is doing there.

The wonky proportions: Sometimes the proportions vary enough that I got confused about the size of the characters. For instance, on page 6, panel 5, the kids are shown to be just a bit shorter than Sherlock Holmes himself – who should be pretty tall. For a moment, I thought that they were older kids, now, in book three. Not so. And sometimes the proportions don’t just vary, they’re way off – as on page 27, panel 8, when Grace is about as big as Watson the puny cat. It’s too weird to not notice. So… um… why wasn’t this corrected?

Charlie’s androgyny: There are many instances of Charlie getting angry and suddenly metamorphosing from a cutesy tomboy into a boy. And not just a boy, but an older boy at that. I’m not sure why Etien has a hard time with that, but he does.

On the plus side, Sherlock Holmes is more involved in this story, as was Dr. Watson, which was fun. But that was the only high point of a book that sort of left me cold. It was totally a quality effort by all involved, but somehow it didn’t engross me quite like the others did. Still, that doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to the next one.

‘Les Quatre de Baker Street’ is turning out to be an enjoyable read.

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