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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

The Great Game #3


Writer/co-creator: Mark Gatiss
Co-creator: Steven Moffat
Artist: Jay.
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $4.99
Age: 12+
48 pages
Publication Date: 04 October 2017

Sherlock has found himself involved in a case against his will, with a mysterious person taking hostages and forcing the detective to play a game in order to set them free. A banker’s car has been found abandoned, covered with bloodstains. Time is ticking for Sherlock and John, with six hours left to save the hostage’s life! The detective seems to be winning, but he’s about to find out there are no rules in this game…

We get three cases in one in this issue. First, there’s the problem that was set at the end of the previous instalment: what became of the banker Ian Monkford? Sherlock manages to solve this within the first 12 pages of the issue, by observing clues such as a man’s suntan and itchy arm. As Holmes himself proudly proclaims, “I am on fire!” Watch out for the pipette dropper from the Sherlock opening titles as the detective carries out forensic tests on a drop of Monkford’s blood.

However, no sooner is one case closed than another one opens – a fact that brings a smile to the face of the easily bored Holmes. This time it’s the question of who killed a woman whom Sherlock, with his famously decluttered mind, has never heard of. Fortunately, John has watched a lot of television during periods of unemployment, so he recognises Connie Prince, the host of a popular makeover programme. Sherlock allows John to carry out some of the investigation by himself, which, as in sources such as The Hound of the Baskervilles, proves to be largely a waste of time.

However, it is time that the detective is prepared to waste, because of the third case, the ongoing mystery of Moriarty. When John realises that Sherlock has been prolonging the investigation, he is angry, because the bomber’s current hostage, a blind old woman, has been held captive and terrified all this time. Sherlock argues that he has been using the time efficiently: “I knew I could save her. I also knew that the bomber had given us twelve hours. I solved the case quickly. That gave me time to get on with other things. Don’t you see? We’re one up on him.” What is not spelled out by writer Mark Gatiss is that, far from being heartless, Sherlock has also been buying time for Moriarty’s next victim.

Artist Jay. captures all the tiny details of the original television drama, such as John’s discomfort as both Connie’s cat and her brother show him unwanted attention. However, this is a rather dialogue-heavy section of the episode, so the issue is somewhat dominated by shots of talking heads.

Greater drama is yet to come. Three issues to go. The clock is ticking…


Richard McGinlay

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