Based on the TV show by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss
(Adapted from Episode Three: The Great Game)
Script by: Mark Gatiss
Adaptation/Art: by Jay.
Letters by: Amoona Saohin
Published by: Titan Comics
“The story so far… Sherlock Holmes and his flatmate/friend John Watson have been developing a crime solving relationship. They have solved the ‘Study in Pink’ crimes- where a series of murders were made to look like suicides- and the case of ‘The Blind Banker’ where murders were accompanied by strange symbols. Watson has now taken on some work at a doctor’s surgery- but the duo are hoping to solve more crime-related cases”
It isn’t very often that I get completely blindsided by a book in my review queue. The Great Game #1 is definitely not what I expected. This book has been translated to English from the Japanese manga adaptation of the English script of a Sherlock television episode written by Mark Gatiss (which was adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterwork). With me so far? Good.
This chapter opens in Minsk, where Sherlock has been summoned to exonerate the son of a butcher, who claims to have murdered his girlfriend by accident. Sherlock is bored by the case, and is more offended by the man’s grammar than the grisly details of the murder. Before leaving the interrogation room, Sherlock informs the sad sack that he will surely be hanged, not hung.
Back in Britain, DI Lestrade calls Sherlock to New Scotland Yard. A package has arrived addressed to Sherlock containing a painstaking replica of the pink mobile phone of Jennifer Wilson, from the previous story arc (A Study In Pink, Season one, episode 2 of the TV show). Cryptic messages immediately begin arriving on the phone for Sherlock to decipher, with innocent lives at stake.
Jay has done a faithful job adapting Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ baby to a new medium. The book is very nearly a shot for shot adaptation. The art style is definitely Manga, but the resemblance is definitely there for all the principal characters to the actors playing them. I don’t want to say caricatured, but there is a certain cartoony, simple quality to the grayscale artwork.
The hardest thing for me was remembering to read dialog balloons from right to left. In the end it didn’t seem to matter much when I forgot. That may just be that I’m familiar enough with the source material that my brain wrapped it around for me.
Manga is not typically my genre. That being said, I enjoyed reading this book. Multiple translations back to the original language could have been disastrous, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt the readability and enjoyment of a great story.
Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? Yep! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them.