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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

The Blind Banker #5


Writer: Steve Thompson
Co-creators: Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss
Artist: Jay.
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £3.30, US $4.99
Age: 12+
40 pages
Publication Date: 10 May 2017

Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are investigating the murders of people who received a threat in the form of a mysterious symbol before their deaths. It seems that the symbols are numbers and that the victims were most probably smugglers who stole from their bosses, the Black Lotus crime syndicate. Sherlock and John’s inquiries continue… but one of them could be about to become the next target…

This episode is a mixed bag. On the one hand, some elements veer into the mundane (for example, Holmes and Watson searching the internet for recent auctions of valuable Chinese antiques) or stretch credibility (like the fact that John doesn’t get the sack, or even appear to face discipline, for falling asleep at work). On the other hand, there are some delightful moments, such as John’s frustration at not being able to enjoy a simple night out with a woman he fancies: “I’m right in the middle of a date,” he tries to explain to Sherlock with increasing irritation, “You want me to chase some killer while I’m trying to… While I’m trying to get off with Sarah!” The last statement is blurted out more loudly than he intended, leading to some embarrassment.

The humour is accentuated by the fact that Jay. depicts certain instances of exasperation or other extreme emotions from a distance, in the background and in miniature. The resulting exaggerated, cartoonish facial expressions bring to mind light-hearted comic-strip characters such as Charlie Brown or Calvin. It is usually John who receives this treatment, though a German tourist is also presented in this way, when he is similarly annoyed by Sherlock’s outrageous behaviour.

At first, I thought Sherlock and John’s search for a particular book, the key to deciphering the mysterious symbols, a book that everybody would own, was rather tedious and utterly predictable. “The Bible!” I cried triumphantly, making the same mistake that Watson had made in The Valley of Fear. However, it isn’t that at all.

And hot on the heels of this revelation comes one of the most exciting cliffhangers in this series to date.


Richard McGinlay

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