The Comic Round Up column aims to get some words down on comics published for the week. This weeks reviews are handled by the Mall Santas Anonymous. There's just too many great books coming out from Valiant, BOOM!, Monkeybrain, IDW, and Dark Horse that don't get enough attention. We hope to rectify this issue and inform you on what it is you should be reading and what makes it to the tops of our buy piles.
This week we are reviewing Buzzkill #4, Locke and Key: Alpha #2, and Watson & Holmes: A Study In Black. Don't let the crying toddlers worry you. This is an exception to stranger danger and completely normal.
The mystery presented here is pretty rich, although not without its faults. Fortunately these faults are likely the same kind of thing you'd find in most Holmes mysteries. One example of this is that sometimes the evidence and clues come off as a little too convenient. Also too, the motives of the two protagonists are not always clear and we aren't given any background on Watson until well into the second issue and it's into the third chapter that we get the background of Holmes. Even then, the reader may say that those motives aren't enough for them to enter into hails of bullets and threats to thier loved ones.
For the most part, the art is fairly good, but I am often left feeling like it could have been better (with one exception which I'll mention in two shakes) had the artist done this or that. The art could have come off as noir in its presence, but unfortunately it felt like there was a sheet giving it a matte feel where too many of the details were visible. Some deep blacks would have been great and added to the drama of the book. There were however some moments of fantastic art such as the scene on the bridge or whenever the art took on some more sharper lines in the characters while they contemplated their clues. The highlight of the art is definitely the backgrounds which is the sign of a good artist. The buildings were detailed but consistent with the style of the rest of the book.
Larry Stroman makes an appearance in the epilogue. This guy is probably one of the most under rated artists in comics. His contributions to the world of X-Men is understated where he and Peter David crafted some very unique mutants who are still around today. I also have a fondness for Tribe, which was an early Image series that broke from the publisher on to its own thing. Stroman's art here in Watson & Holmes is most welcome and hits all the right notes. He captures the hustle and bustle of a busy New York street like no other can. And he also draws big bottoms. Leonardi probably is blushing having his art next to Stroman's, but he does alright on his own.
In all, for this trade, it's a good value because the story is dense enough to keep you interested and engaged. Also too, Stroman's art is a treat well worth the price of admission.