The Seven-Per-Cent Solution #1 (IDW)


Rating: 4/5 – Sherlock Holmes Vs. Cocaine!
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

A nicely executed comics adaptation of the Nicholas Meyer novel of the same name, which spent 47 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List in 1974-1975, and was also made into a 1976 move that featured Nicol Williamson as Holmes, Robert Duvall as Watson, and Alan Arkin as Dr. Sigmund Freud.  The name refers to Holmes’ struggle with cocaine, first referred to in the opening scene of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four where Holmes is injecting himself with cocaine in “a seven-per-cent solution.”, kind of strange nowadays, when most people think of inhaling powdered cocaine not injecting it with a syringe.

I’ve never read the original novel, so I’m coming to the story somewhat cold, other than being generally aware of the plot, as outlined early on by Dr. Watson who sets the stage for our tale by explaining that two of his Holmes stories were fictitious (the conceit being that the Conan Doyle stories were true, related by Dr. Watson about his associate Holmes).  The fabricated tales are The Final Problem, in which Holmes apparently dies along with Prof. Moriarty, and The Adventure of the Empty House, in which Holmes reappears after 3 years and revealed that he had not been killed battling Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls in The Final Problem after all.  In any event, Watson reveals that the fabricated stories were done to hide the truth about where Holmes really was for those 3 years.  And it is THIS story that is being written down to finally set the record straight about those missing years.

David Tipton & Scott Tipton adapt the novel, and do a nice job breaking it down and setting a nice pace of story across the 20 pages of this 1st issue.  Ron Joseph’s art has a nice quality that was evocative of the era to my eye, ably assisted with a really nice coloring job from Jordi Escuin.  I’m a casual fan of Sherlock Holmes, as such I’m aware of the basic gist of the story, though I’ve never read it.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey the Tiptons and Joseph are taking me on and look forward to reading the rest of this series.  It will be the visual template of this story for me, as I’ve also never seen the movie.  If you’re a hard-core Holmes fan, I suspect you already have an opinion about this story.   Let that opinion be your guide on whether you want to check out this comics version or not.  If you;re a casual fan like me, I think this is well worth your while.  If nothing else, it puts a very interesting twist on Moriarty, and since it’s all new to me, I’m going to need to wait a few issues to see how it all plays out.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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