September 29, 2011

Image Comics Review: Moriarty vol. 1 The Dark Chamber

Moriarty vol. 1 The Dark Chamber – Tpb
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Daniel Corey
Artist: Anthony Diecidue

How do we define ourselves as human beings? There are many different answers of course, but when it comes to heroes I would most definitely say that heroes are defined by their adversaries. Now, many stories are written of heroes and their last days, but what happens to the villains? What happens when the hero dies, but the villain lives on? Well, thanks to Daniel Corey, Anthony Diecidue, and Image comics, we have an answer to these interesting questions as far as Professor Moriarty is concerned. Yes, in this first collected volume, The Dark Chamber, we find out how the death of Sherlock Holmes affects the devilish Professor in every aspect of his life.

The first issue begins with Moriarty confronting his own subconscious mind. He’s plagued by a fiendish being that tries to trip him up at every turn and around every corner. The professor is a very strong willed man, though, and he always manages to escape the clutches of this inner demon. He then gets dragged into a mysterious adventure that involves Sherlock Holmes’s brother. He’s seemingly a more simple man than Sherlock was, but the Professor soon finds out that he’s more than what’s on the surface. Indeed he has disappeared, and a certain man from a government agency wants him found, sooner than later. We also get to see the inner workings of Moriarty’s mind. This includes his fear of getting old, becoming meaningless as far as his old reputation, and also fear of not living up to his own expectations.

One thing the Professor hasn’t lost is his superior intellect. This is the driving force behind taking up the job of finding Mycroft Holmes even though he knows there are forces plotting against him before he even consents to taking the assignment. This first volume serves not only to familiarize the reader with Moriarty, but additionally his accomplices, and old friends who have become his enemies. These enemies seek what he seeks, and they’ll do anything to stop him from obtaining it. The “it” is an actual device that may let people traverse into the future mentally and see what’s going to happen to them. Does it really work is the question, though, and Moriarty gets a taste of the machine very early on in this story. Another player wants to obtain the machine, as well. Perhaps you’ve heard of Dr. Watson! Yes, Sherlock Holmes’s old friend and confidant is right on the trail of Moriarty and his underworld connections. Ninja, sword fights, nightmares, betrayals, denials, and an ending that definitely shocked me will keep you turning the pages for sure.

As far as the artwork is concerned, I felt at first that it was a bit too dark, but as the book went on, I quickly changed my mind. It was perfect for this steampunk/Victorian story. The setting is often at night, but you can always tell what is going on and who is in the scene. Some of the pages seemed slightly rushed, but I think that’s just Anthony Diecidue’s style and nothing more. The fighting scenes were really the strong points, and I for one love that. For me, I think they are most important when I read a book. If the dialog pages aren’t quite up to par, it doesn’t bother me (they were actually serviceable, too, though). Overall, I think that this is a solid story with complimentary artwork, and if you as a reader are in any way fascinated by Sherlock Holmes, or Victorian/steampunk type books, then check this book out pronto.

Billy Dunleavy



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