REVIEW: ‘Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini’ #1

(Dynamite Entertainment, 2014)

Written by Anthony Del Sol & Conor McCreery
Artwork by Carlos Furuzono

When fate brings the world’s most famous detective and of the world’s most famous magician together, death and mayhem is soon unleashed. The famous detective Sherlock Holmes and bold illusionist Harry Houdini must overcome their rivalry and join forces against a strange mystic set on destroying Houdini’s career. Holmes and Houdini become embroiled in this great mystery against their mysterious adversary, a being with uncanny supernatural powers, who will kill anyone that stands in their way…

The game is afoot in Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1, the new five-issue Dynamite series written by Anthony Del Col and Connor McCreery, the Harvey Award-nominated creator of Kill Shakespeare, with artwork by Carlos Furuzono, featuring colors by Aikau Oliva, and letters by Rob Steen. This series presents an inexplicable quandary that brings Sherlock Holmes and Harry Houdini together as dark forces conspire to destroy Houdini, with events forcing them to set aside their professional pride, as they confront a menace quite unlike anything either of them has encountered before. This first issue features a stunning cover by John Cassady, and there are variants by Aaron Campbell, Colton Worley.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1 begins in London, 1900, as Houdini’s challenge to Scotland Yard is accepted by Inspector Lestrade, and he performs another daring escape. As Houdini escapes to much applause from Lestrade and his men, the feat is observed by non other than Sherlock Holmes, who has just spent a night in the cells after being hauled off the streets again in a drug fuelled stupor. The initial meeting between the famed detective and brash showman quickly brings a clash of personalities and egos.

As Holmes’ powers of deduction focus of the escapologist’s miraculous escape from the box, Houdini’s views on debunking fraudulent spiritualist are reiterated once more, and the timely arrival of Dr Watson to ensure the detective release sees Houdini challenge Holmes to deduce the means of his next escape during his performance at the Alhambra. However, events take a sinister turn, when the sudden appearance of four spectral figures enraged by the illusionists arrogance leads to a fearful prediction for Houdini’s next grand escape.

The sheer brilliance of teaming a fictional character like Sherlock Holmes with the historical events and life of Harry Houdini makes this new Dynamite series utterly compelling reading. Anthony Del Col and Connor McCreery have weaved an intricate story that brings together these two iconic characters in the most dramatic way imaginable, the rivalry between Holmes and Houdini provides many of this opening issues key moments, and their edgy asides are clearly tinged with a grudging respect for the other. The uncanny mix of fact and fiction that Anthony Del Col and Connor McCreery have crafted here is richly steeped in the lore of Doyle’s famous fictional detective and the legacy of Houdini’s life and career. Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1 makes the most of its intriguing premise, the characterisation is impeccable, and its heady mix of deduction, illusion, and mysticisms provides an enticing glimpse of what we can expect from this series.

The excellent Art by Carlos Furuzono brings Del Col’s and Connor McCreery’s exciting story to life with in fine style, with detailed setting and characters, this first issue sumptuously recreates this era and transports you into the world of Holmes and Houdini. The facial expressions of the characters are also exceptionally good, and the panel layout of each page is beautifully presented. Colorist Aikau Oliva skilfully employs a variety of tones and shade throughout, the darker hues used during Houdini’s escape in Scotland Yard really enhances the claustrophobic interior of the box, the uses of light and shadow for Holmes’ Baker Street residence and the scenes between Houdini and his wife in the dressing room are exquisite, and the vivid purple tones featured during the performance at the Alhambra builds the air of anticipation and uncertainty. This is quite a dialogue intensive issue as well, and letterer Rob Steen’s work is also exceptional.

Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1 builds to an enthralling climax at the Alhambra during Houdini’s performance of the burred alive stunt, where Holmes’ attempt to deduce the logical means behind Houdini’s escape results in tragedy and horror as they confront an evil that will force them to believe in the impossible.

The intriguing premise set up by Anthony Del Col and Connor McCreery during this splendid first issue, together with Carlos Furuzono’s great artwork and Aikau Oliva’s exquisite colors, ensures that Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1 certainly gets this brand new Dynamite series off to an excellent start.


PaulBowler-ProfilePic1

Paul Bowler is a self-Confessed Sci-Fi Geek, Doctor Who fan, and Zombie Disposal Expert. He likes movies, comic books, and all things PS3. He likes to write about his interests, would love to write a novel one day, and also enjoys chatting to the many people he has gotten to know on Twitter. When he’s not busy being an Impossible Astronaut, he likes to take a break from his adventures in time and space to enjoy some of his favourite tv shows and movies, preferably with a nice cuppa tea & a sandwich! You can follow him on Twitter @paul_bowler, or find him at his website, Sci-Fi Jubilee.

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