Feb 9 2015
For a 28-page comic book, this particular issue of Watson and Holmes delivers a sucker punch of moral quandaries. Guest writer Brandon Easton wanted to address a cause in which he strongly believed, and he did so brilliantly–this issue netted three East Coast Black Age of Comics (ECBAC) 2014 Glyph Awards: Best Writer, Best Artist, and Story of the Year. (If you haven’t heard Easton’s eye-opening podcast on the MF Galaxy by Minister Faust, check it out here [part A] and here [part B]).
The sixth installment of Watson and Holmes follows the New York sleuths as they are asked to investigate the death of the wife of a prominent NYC politician, who fell (or was pushed) from an overlook near the George Washington Bridge, late at night. Their look-see takes Watson and Holmes into the seedy underbelly of sex trafficking, and the outlaw groups that control it.
This is a rather layered installment, and is a classic example of things not being as they appear–literally. Watson’s examination of some evidence reveals the DNA of a third party, which sends them in a different direction until Holmes traces a frequently dialed phone number on the politician’s cell phone records. While trying to discover the identity of the random DNA, the investigative duo have a bit of conflict regarding the politician: Holmes is after the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and suspects that the politician is connected somehow to his wife’s untimely death; while Watson is skeptical of any possible wrongdoing by a man who had done so much to improve the lives of the Black citizens of Harlem, without sacrificing them to the whims of the moneyed majority in the name of progress. This dichotomy of deeds versus sins, which plays out daily in real life and particularly within the Black community, takes an even odder twist when the DNA results are finally matched.
While the action and deductions seem to take sudden leaps (this, from a comics newbie who normally reads books with hundreds of pages and no pictures), they only serve to underscore the seriousness of this issue’s subject matter–particularly the jaw-dropping twist at the end. The banter between the stoic Holmes and the more personable Watson adds a light touch, even while exploring the minefields of private pleasures and public service. Fans of the original Arthur Conan Doyle characters will be pleased that the creators of Watson and Holmes stayed true to most of those characters idiosyncrasies (minus the cocaine addiction). This was my first foray into the comic world of Watson and Holmes and as a reader of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, this won’t be my last (especially since both Watson and Holmes are comic-book cuties–but I digress). I recommend this issue and commend Easton for tackling not one, but three difficult, politically and emotionally charged subjects (I can’t mention all of them without giving away key parts of the plot–buy the issue and see for yourself!).
Speaking of purchase: now through February 16, in celebration of #BlackComicsMonth, you can get this particular issue (issue #6) of Watson and Holmes FREE (yes, free), via the Comixology site, with the code BLACKCOMICSMONTH. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Tiffany M. Davis, who also writes under the pen name Tee Emdee, is the author of the Bastille Family Chronicles series and the Sebastian Scott novels. When she is not spinning tales from the creative yet dystopian landscape of her mind, you can find her cheering the San Antonio Spurs; reading, cooking; or playing mahjong and Words With Friends. She lives in the Atlanta, GA area with her polydactyl cat, Mr. Nibbles, and is a fan of aikido and the Oxford Comma. She has a tendency to wild out, Blerd style, on Twitter.