The collected edition of Sherlock Holmes: Victorian Knights gathers the story of the Sidney Street Spectre and the Dancing Demon, two new Sherlock Holmes stories imagined by Ken Janssens. Originally released in four volumes, it follows the investigation of a murdered prostitute in what appears to be a haunted boarding house.
After being mistaken for the Black Spectre and attacked on the way home from another case, Holmes and Watson learn of a murdered woman whose body has just been found. Arriving on the scene even before the authorities have been called, Sherlock quickly proves it wasn’t a ghost that killed the woman of fright, but something much more sinister. From there, we get to go to the countryside to investigate a young man’s death, supposedly at the hands of the dancing tree demon.
Sherlock Holmes is a truly complex character, an odd mix of intelligence and physicality that allows the reader to see both the best and worst of humanity. That is a hard mix to write, but for the most part it is well executed in the stories. The relationship between Holmes and Watson is what is especially well done in the comic. Both playful and respectful, with the right level of sarcasm and wit, the interactions harken back to the original stories with a hint of the Watson from the radio serials from the 1940s.
Though the art style isn’t my cup of tea, it does allow the story to be front and center which is key for a Holmes story. And though referenced, other well known Sherlock Holmes characters, such as Mycroft and Lestrade do not play a role in the stories.
Overall the book is fun and does a good job recreating the style of the original Holmes short stories. It is a good read for any Sherlock Holmes fan, mystery aficionado or even if you are just trying to get a middle schooler to read.