Les Quatre de Baker Street, Tome 5

Les Quatre de Baker Street 5Synopsis: The adventures of the Baker Street Irregulars continue in the fifth volume of the award-winning comics series based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

Hailed by critics and audiences, The Baker Street Four has received numerous awards and was featured in Angoulême in 2012. Insight Editions is proud to continue to bring this exciting story to English audiences worldwide.

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Les Quatre de Baker Street, Tome 5, by Jean-Blaise Djian, Olivier Legrand and David Etien 7.75

Or, The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

(Like there was ever any doubt!)

Months following the events of the last book, the deaths of Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty are still being felt: the Baker Street Irregulars are aimless and moody, and Moriarty’s underworld network is being dismantled by the police. But Moriarty’s associates are banding together to rebuild his empire, starting with one of his final extortion ploys.

The Baker Street Four discover that, not only has Moriarty’s genius been revived, but Holmes himself has returned. For real. Taking full advantage of the cover given him by his purported death, Holmes has been living undercover and is planning to pick apart what’s left of Moriarty’s organization – with the invaluable help of Billy, Tom and Charlie, of course.

And so they begin to tail key suspects in a kidnapping case that has involved one of London’s wealthiest men, and report back to Holmes…

Though there isn’t much a mystery to solve here, I enjoyed that this one went back to policing, after the more divergent last volume. And, though I liked how elusive and enigmatic he had been in previous books, I truly appreciated that Holmes is more involved this time; it helped to return the series back to its roots. Plus which he’s just a very cool character.

The pace of this adventure is excellent, the plot develops in a way that makes complete sense, and Etien’s art, which is undeniably sketchier than it was in the first books, is at least more consistent than ever – I found no distractions other than one or two speech bubbles (and that may just be due to my inattentiveness). This is a very solid effort all around.

Plus there’s a terrific afterword by the authors explaining the history of Holmes’ return after three years, though Conan Doyle had intended to retire him. They explain that a lot of Holmes’ explanation of his whereabouts for three years don’t really hold up; they offer a different take, explaining that the tales are merely Watson’s “official” account of what took place.

It’s not the truth.

That totally made sense to me, and it earned the authors my respect, both for having the guts to challenge a literary classic and also for dissecting the original works and finding gaps where they could fit their own take on those lost years, allowing Holmes to return two years earlier and tying him with their Baker Street Irregulars. That’s a genius move to me.

So this was my favourite book in the series thus far.

I’m glad there’s more.

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