Moriarty the Patriot Vol. 2: Enter A Rebooted Sherlock Holmes!

You knew this was coming: Moriarty the Patriot introduced its version of Sherlock Holmes in the series in the second volume of the collected series from Viz Media. And this rebooted version of Holmes is hilarious in the way that only manga and Japanese fan culture can be. Hell, they put him right on the cover!

Moriarty the Patriot Vol. 2: Enter A Rebooted Sherlock Holmes!
"Moriarty the Patriot" vol. 2 cover art courtesy of Viz Media

Volume 2 of the series finds young James Moriarty still setting up his network of operatives and ironing out his agenda. There's the story where he gets kidnapped by a gang of criminals and turns the tables by talking them into working for him, as antihero masterminds tend to do. That's all in a day's work for Moriarty. The bulk of the collection goes to the introduction of Sherlock Holmes. Moriarty and his gang carry out a Mission: Impossible-style scheme involving a staged opera on a cruise ship to set up a truly repulsive aristocrat.

If you watched the anime of Moriarty the Patriot, you've already seen this new version of Sherlock Holmes. He looks like a manga version of the Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock! That's a dead giveaway for who the target audience of this series is: girls and women. He has the same haircut as the Cumberbatch Holmes and even the same open collar shirt (which is anachronistic for formal Victorian society) and tight dark suit. Since this is a rebooted Holmes, he's a cocky Cockney hipster with a chip on his shoulder instead of a middle-aged drug addict. This is hilarious! I just wish they found a translator and scriptwriter who knew how to write more accurate Cockney dialogue for the character instead of an American's idea of what Cockney sounds like.

Moriarty the Patriot is one of the more subversive manga series out there. It reboots Sherlock Holmes' nemesis "the Napoleon of Crime" into a young class warrior intent on bringing down the corrupt upper classes of Victorian Britain through a campaign of crime and terror. The series is a prime example of "authorized" fan fiction. Japanese creators take a popular character from fiction – preferably one in the public domain – and turn them into Bishonen versions, i.e., young and beautiful boys. There's a certain glee in Bishonen Moriarty and Holmes matching wits amongst criminal conspiracies and murder plots. Creators Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi know exactly what they're doing here, and it's bags of fun.

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.