Dynamite has sent us a new writer's commentary from Leah Moore for the book Sherlock Holmes: The Vanishing Man #2 she co-writes with John Reppion. Cover by John Cassaday with interiors by Julius Ohta.
Okay, so last issue we saw May Williams pique The Great Detective's interest. This issue, we follow her to see what she did next. We are not the only ones following her, as she seems to have attracted some kind of ne'er-do-well who is reporting on her movements. What is there to report on? Just a bit of shopping. Nothing untoward.
Mrs Hudson has seen it all. I get the impression that nothing would surprise her anymore. Her life is just a constant procession of peculiar characters who she sends upstairs and brings a cup of tea. I like to imagine she has a ton of adventures of her own that she gets up to between visitors.
Lestrade seems to get a pretty raw deal in life. He has a lot of responsibility and a massive workload, but then it's often Holmes who swoops in to solve things. Lestrade doesn't get the luxury of picking his cases; he has a whole city to look out for, and I think we see his frustration a tiny bit here. You would think having a mighty brain like Holmes on tap would be a blessing, but I wouldn't say that out loud to Lestrade. Not while he's in this mood anyway.
This is our first look at Michael and May's home, and we get to meet May's mother. Holmes and Watson may have made some assumptions about Michael, or indeed about May, so are those assumptions going to get challenged here? What's the deal at the Williams house?
Mrs. Freeman is a busy woman. Clearly when May came to Holmes, it was not for her benefit alone. She and her husband and her mum have a charitable home set up, and without Michael's wage there's no saying what'll happen to it.
Holmes is able to make some deductions here, about Mrs. Freeman, but she doesn't seem as impressed as people usually are. We get the distinct feeling that Mrs. Freeman has better things to be doing than entertaining him and Watson. Possibly something to do with the huge pile of kids in the next room. If it was mine, they'd be punching each other and yelling for juice by now. I'll admit
Victorian waifs might be less demanding, but still.
We confirm that May has managed to find a husband so perfect in every way that even his mother-in-law hasn't got a bad word to say against him. The whole family are a hard working, studious, respectable household, model parents, charitable citizens. What could anyone have against them? Why does May need to buy that gun? There has to be more to this!
Oh Wiggins. I'm sorry. You were only trying to be helpful, but where did it get you? Maybe when they stop the carriage, you can escape? A resourceful young chap like you… should be able to slip away undetected, yes?
Ah. Maybe not so much.
I bet you any money that the kids are running riot in the next room and Holmes is oblivious. Mrs. Freeman has the patience of a saint.
So after all that grilling of Mrs. Freeman, what do they have by way of leads? What have they deduced from her answers, or from their inspection of the house? We don't find out yet, because a real live miscreant is behaving suspiciously! Maybe they'll have more luck questioning him? They'll have to catch him first. I think.
After we saw the art come on for the last issue, we realized that Julius is astonishingly good at pacy dynamic action sequences, so when we got the chance to give him the space, we really went for it. He packs so much movement and bounce into his figures, you can totally feel the weight and heft of them as they move through the page. My favorite moment on page 12 is the poor egg man who deserves better than this, and on page 13 the little dog steals the whole scene. I would recommend any up-and-coming writers include a little yippy dog in a scene, as it improves it immeasurably!
Lestrade was having a frustrating day already. it just got worse. Sometimes your colleagues become real friends, and make your workday that bit easier to get through. Not in this case, though.
If Lestrade thought he was having a hard day, then I would bet you any money that Sergeant Bailey's was worse…
Watson has a chance here to complete a perfect pincer movement on the man they are chasing…
… or not.
I think one of the things that make Moriarty such a wonderful villain to write or to read is that he always goes against type, and against expectations. He is always two steps ahead of Holmes, and sometimes he seems to be ahead of his writers too. You get the impression that he has nine hundred thoughts racing through his head, and that we are only privy to about two of them. One of his thoughts in this scene is feeding a hungry child. Another is preserving the smooth running of his business, or businesses.
If Wiggins thought he was in danger before, then he was right. Poor Wiggins!
Holmes and Watson are seen here using Victorian Google, or 'Efficient Woman in a Well Stocked Records Office' as it was called then. Watson has some theories, based possibly more on his own interior life than he realizes. Quite the chap-about-town is our Watson.
Sadly, the Great Detective's search gets him a 404 – not found.
Ahhh, back to the Williams house, and look: they got those kids to sleep! Now they can open a beer and watch a couple of episodes of Better Call Saul before they pass out. Hold on now, what did she just say? Why did she do that? Wait, what?!