Weekend Shorts: X-Men and Watson and Holmes

It’s comics time! I’m still sloooowly making my way through those back issues of X-Men and I’ve got a new take on my old friend Sherlock Holmes. What are you reading?

X-Men #8, by Brian Wood
X-Men #8Back to these crazy hijinks! There’s a break-in at the Jean Grey School, and one of the vaguely ethnic and also telepathic X-Men chases the intruder down but fails to catch her. Said intruder, our pin-up from last issue, makes off with a box of apparently Everything, including a live sample of our friend Arkea from the first story arc. Turns out our villains are super interested in Arkea and her powers, enough that they’re willing to venture to BFE Norway and team up with some other character I don’t know anything about (Enchantress, apparently a foe of Thor?) to get said powers. Meanwhile, lesbian subplot? I don’t even know. How many more issues until I can quit this thing?

Watson and Holmes, Vol. 1, by Karl Bollers and Rick Leonardi
Watson and Holmes, Vol. 1I am a sucker for a lot of things Holmes-related, and this modern-day story wherein both Watson and Holmes are black dudes in Harlem seemed like a pretty easy way to up those diverse reading numbers while not having to stray far from my comfort zone. But in a strange turn of events, I found myself a little frustrated when things from the Sherlock canon made their way into the narrative.

That seems unfair, probably, but really it’s a testament to how engaging the story was that every time something Sherlock came into it — Afghanistan, 221B Baker Street, Irregulars, Mycroft the gourmand — I was like, yes, yes, I get it, this is a Sherlock Holmes story. A little detail here and there, sure (I mean, really, where else is Sherlock going to live?), but I think the author could have trusted his characters and us as readers just a little bit more.

In this version, Watson is drawn in by the case of a kidnapped girl and sticks around after solving that one to find the fellows who had held her captive and who subsequently started murdering other people, as you do. There’s the requisite hyper-observation on Holmes’s part, as well as the disdain of of the police (led by Leslie Stroud, what what), but there’s also a surprising amount of gunplay and action sequences. This Holmes puts practice with his theory, and I like that a lot.

I wish it were a super lot, but the clunky references were bad and the penchant for bolding seemingly random words (my absolute least favorite thing in comics) kept it from making that leap. But it’s got a good story and strong characters and I have faith it will hit its stride as the series continues. I will definitely be picking up the next volume when it comes out.

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