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Comic Review: ‘Sherlock: A Study in Pink’ #1

Title: Sherlock_Manga_ASIP_01_Cover_ASherlock: A Study in Pink
Written by: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss
Art by: Jay
Published by: Titan Comics
Release Date: June 8, 2016
Price: $4.99

Summary: The Japanese SHERLOCK Manga comes to the USA and UK for the first time ever! Adapting the episodes of the smash-hit BBC America/Hartswood Films TV show that sees Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) tackling brain-teasing crimes in modern-day London, this stunning manga is presented in its original right-to-left reading order, and in the full chapters as originally serialised. Each oversized issue comes with a selection of BRAND-NEW covers by some of the best Sherlock artists around! #1 kicks things off with a 52pp special. Meet Sherlock and Watson for the first time… all over again!

Though I’m not really a manga fan, I was so excited to hear that this manga was coming to America! I’m a bit of a Sherlock fanatic (especially with BBC’s version), and the picture below is my actual growing collection of all my Sherlock stuff. This doesn’t include the rather old collection books that my mother has ensured I will be getting.

shelf oop

But enough of me geeking out, let’s review this!

There area few elements of this manga that make me like it a lot, but but others hindered me from really enjoying it. It’s difficult to see where my thoughts on this comic stand, and I think I’ll have to buy the physical copy to see if the comic will work better for me in that format.

This manga does amazing job of recreating the feeling of the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock. The drama of the series is palpable in comic form, which is something that is hard to do with just writing alone. You need to be a very talented and skilled artist to be able to accomplish this feat. The drama and nostalgia from the show is felt even though they altered the pilot episode’s opening. changing it from John having a war dream to the starting and cementing of the serial crimes.

I really enjoyed the inner monologue that sometimes would pop up from John Watson, which is something that doesn’t happen in the show at all. Watson is my favorite of the duo and was the one who wrote all the adventures in the original stories, so it was nice to hear from an old friend.

The thing that makes this comic hard for me to enjoy is the very fact that this is a manga. Quite a few of the visual elements (like the texts on everyone’s screen coming up and reading “Wrong!”) weren’t as deep as when you could see it in real time with real people. Some of the characters don’t even look close to the actors who initially portrayed them (such as Lestrade and Sally), but others were done well, like Ms. Hudson, who looks so adorable in this comic.

Sherlock Manga Preview

The facial expressions were very limited in this comic, and when the lines were delivered from certain angles in the manga, the artist didn’t show why the scene was funny or memorable. One example is when Molly is bringing Sherlock coffee. He notices she took off her lipstick and says that now her mouth looks too small. In the show, when he takes a sip of the coffee, he makes a face of utter disgust at the coffee, but in the manga, he’s smiling.  It’s little changes like that that made this comic difficult for me to enjoy.

I ultimately decided to pick up this series. I do like it, it is Sherlock to me, even with the few nitpicks I have.

Should I put the series on the shelf with the rest of my Sherlock merchandise, or should I keep it in my comic box? This is my new dilemma.

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