I didn’t enjoy the first two issues of “Sherlock Holmes” much, describing them as “a plodding, slow, crawling comic that has a fair chance of boring you into sleep” and “a bit too heavy-handed with scenes obviously included only to set up events later in the issue and in future issues,” but with this final issue, it ends strongly and pays off the slow build-up of the initial issues. Like any Sherlock Holmes mystery, things wrap up in a nice little package thanks to a long and detailed explanation of what really happened, but is counterbalanced by a thrilling assassination attempt.
“The Trial of Sherlock Holmes” finally gets to the actual trial as Holmes is charged with murdering a man in a locked room in a house guarded by police officers. It looks like there’s no possible way that Holmes is innocent and, yet, Moore and Reppion do a good job of setting things up so that no one actually believes he is guilty. Like the readers, everyone in the comic seems to think that the trial will allow Holmes to prove his innocence and solve the mystery in a very public and dramatic fashion. How he explains his innocence is what this issue revolves around and, while a little long-winded, it is intricate and fits with everything that’s come before.
On the other hand, the plot involving Prince Lothair of Germany also comes to a head and is finally tied into Holmes’ case as well. That plot has been running parallel to the Holmes one for four issues and to have it finally intersect in such a dramatic and interesting fashion is really clever, leading to a final scene that is surprising and a little chilling.
Aaron Campbell’s realistic art has been strong and steady throughout the series and he continues his good work in this issue. His figure work is extremely strong, as the preview pages show, but his background work continues to lack detail. Characters often stand in front of solidly colored backgrounds that give no sense of place. With much of this issue taking place outside, he manages to improve his skill by drawing detailed crowds and busy London streets. He also really shines in the final pages where his art carries a lot of the emotional subtext of the scene as Holmes confronts the man who framed him for murder.
“Sherlock Holmes” #5 wraps up “The Trial of Sherlock Holmes,” bringing together all of the loose threads and ending in a typical Holmesean fashion. An entertaining and interesting read.