Watson and Holmes #1 & 2
Publisher: Paradigm Studios
Writer: Karl Bollers
Artist: Rick Leonardi
Cover: Rick Loenardi & Ryan Wardlow
Watson and Holmes is a reimagined and modern take on the classic characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The location is now Harlem, New York and Watson is a medical intern with a military background while Holmes is a well known private investigator in the neighborhood. Oh, and the crime solving duo are now Black. If you’re thinking that this may just be a gimmick and the characters are just a color palette exchange of what came before you are quite mistaken. Bollars and Leonardi deliver a quality story and though they pay homage to several elements of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation they also find a way to make it their own.
After losing a patient an emotionally drained Watson is immediately called to help with a young man who appears to have been the victim of a mugging. Holmes soon enters the hospital with police officers to check on the victim as he is part of a case Holmes is already working on. After leaving his contact info with Watson and the promise that something unusual will turn up in the toxicology report Holmes takes his leave. After confirming the next day what Holmes said to be true the two meet up again and begin to unravel the case piece by piece. Ending with Watson and Holmes looking for a kidnapped woman and facing a very angry cartel.
Things really get going in the second issue as Bollers introduces us to several other characters who will assist Holmes along the way. In this high tech world we live in you definitely need someone who knows his way around an encryption or two and “Pixel” is that guy. With information gathered from him and after “acquiring” some evidence from a related crime scene Holmes and Watson are back on the trail. One that will lead to another dead body if they don’t act fast enough.
Watson and Holmes is a very solid book that can stand next to any crime drama series you’re reading or watching now. Bollers delivers very good pacing with these issues as we’re taken further into the development of the story. From the action sequences to the actual investigations there always something entertaining along the way. A big part of that is he’s definitely made the interactions between Holmes and Watson very natural and fun. Their dialogue is one of the stronger parts of the issues and it’s great that Bollers isn’t trying to make them “cool” but just strong characters on their own merit. We are also getting two very intelligent and capable characters who definitely can mix it up if need be.
Leonardi’s artwork here has a very visceral feel to it and gives the story a serious push. There are too many areas where the two sync up perfectly as he not only takes you into the world of Watson and Holmes but keeps you there while making sure you don’t leave until you turn the last page. It’s also great to see an artist that consistently draws Black characters more accurately than those who just draw a Caucasian character and color him/her brown.
Thanks to New Paradigm Studios there’s another good comic on the shelves for readers to enjoy. Watson and Holmes is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys a smart crime drama that looks as good as this! So do yourself a favor and give this a try and see if it’s for you.