Since Sherlock Holmes found his way into the public domain, it seems like the world can’t escape countless stories featuring him each year. While we have seen some really good takes on Sherlock, they’ve all started to blend together, and I can’t say I get excited whenever I hear about a new adaptation.
Moriarty the Patriot, however, manages to take a completely new look at the Sherlock Holmes universe, instantly pulling readers in. Instead of focusing on the famous detective, the manga series puts James Moriarty, the arch-nemesis, in the spotlight. Whereas Sherlock is a master at catching criminals, Moriarty is a master at committing crimes. Though he is normally depicted as the ultimate evil, in Moriarty the Patriot, we see a completely different side of him.
After being adopted by a family of nobles, two orphaned brothers quietly try to survive. The entire family treats them like trash except for Albert Moriarty, the eldest brother. The two brothers and Albert have a few things in common: the hatred of nobles and the wish for equality for all peoples. So one thing leads to the next, and they end up killing the entire Moriarty household; the eldest brother takes the name William James Moriarty and, with his brothers, Louis and Albert, set out to rid the world of arrogant nobles once and for all.
Moriarty the Patriot, grabbed my attention immediately, and refused to let go for the whole first Volume. While I was expecting a run of the mill Sherlock story from the bad guy’s perspective, we are instead treated with a compelling origin story for a group of vigilantes.
James, Albert, and Louis are all immediately likable characters. Though they commit crimes, time and time again, we are shown how life has thrown them down and stomped on them and how evil the nobles truly are. Each time the group gets together to “give punishment” to someone, it feels deserved, and we, as the audience, end up rooting for the Moriartys.
Moriarty the Patriot, features gorgeous art by Hikaru Miyoshi. The series almost feels like many Yaoi series I’ve seen in the past, with the entire cast of men being some of the most attractive fictional characters. It isn’t just the main cast; however, the background illustrations and the support characters all stunningly drawn as well, meaning just about every panel in this first volume will be a feast for the eyes.
While the first two chapters of Moriarty the Patriot are absolutely captivating, the third has me worried. It seems to be setting up the idea that many chapters will feature the Moriarty gang going around helping people in a completely episodic formula, with very little driving any sort of central plot. The chapter does introduce some new characters that seem like they will be sticking around for a while, but I am eager to see the grander plot that author Ryōsuke Takeuchi has crafted.
With amazing character designs, art, and a captivating narrative, Moriarty the Patriot has set itself up to become quite the engaging series. Though the ending of the first volume carries an air of episodic filler with it, I have hope that Takeuchi and Miyoshi have some great stuff in store for the series. Anyone with love for Sherlock Holmes stories owes it to themselves to check out Moriarty the Patriot, a so-far captivating new take on the classic story.
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