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‘Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald’ HC (review)

Written by Neil Gaiman,
Rafael Albuquerque, Rafael Scavone

Illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque,
Dave Stewart

Published by Dark Horse Comics

 

I had been waiting for this book since I first heard of it.

I had first read this alternative Sherlock Holmes story for the first time in the pages of the prose short story collection called Shadows Over Baker Street. It came out in 2003 and was great. That book featured a bunch of short stories set against the backdrop of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. I had heard that it was being adapted to comics and I couldn’t wait. So it’s here, finally. And good news. It’s a great adaptation that everyone should read.

This book features a wounded soldier coming back from Afghanistan. He ends up in a hospital where he meets a new friend.

They hit it off and decide to live together. That person he meets becomes his new roommate, and that guy is the “Sherlock Holmes” character of the book. They both take up residence on Baker Street. The soldier, who is the narrator (the “John Watson” character of the book), is amazed by all the eccentric people that visit this new roommate of his. They all seem rather odd.

Then, one morning, Inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard enters. He gets the detective and the narrator interested in a case he is working on. The name “Rache” is scrawled on a crime scene. There is a dead body. It is the body of someone important with ties to royalty.

And then, the errant “Sherlock Holmes” and his narrator partner are off on the case.

Gaiman’s story here is one of his best. It never goes where you expect. Even the ending, which is totally unexpected, thrills. That’s because he takes each moment of his story and makes them seamless and new. He ties so much meaning in a single scene. The concepts are mind boggling.
The dialogue is strong as well. The way he first introduces the main characters in the hospital is wonderfully funny and great. I sat up and couldn’t look away. I read it twice, just so I could keep looking deeper. It’s worth it and I recommend everyone who reads this should do so.

The art is beyond perfect. Albuquerque is one of the best unsung heroes in comics. Each scene is greatly composed and he has realized these characters from the prose perfectly.

I love this book. I can’t wait to read it a third time. It’s that good.

RATING: A

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