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Sherlock Manga: A Study in Pink #1 - Review * 06 June 2016

Sherlock _Manga Cover _A

Arriving in UK and USA comic book stores this week thanks to Titan Comics is the official English language translation of the celebrated Manga translation of Sherlock: A Study in Pink. Produced with the full authorisation of the team at Hartswood Films, the Manga takes Steven Moffat's screenplay and transforms it into speech bubble form, accompanied by stylised artwork by artist Jay.


The results are fascinating and great fun. If you're more familiar with reading Western comics, there's an initial brain-rewiring needed to your eye movements, as the page art and text reads from right to left, rather than the left to right you'd be used to. Dialogue is lifted straight from the script page, so we can't make any comments on that, or the storytelling - though things are slightly remixed with an initial focus on the murders, rather than starting with our introduction to John as we do in the episode. Other than that, this is the story you already know and love, but rendered in crisp black and white art. Jay makes effective use of panel construction and the full page splash for dramatic moments (our first glimpse at Sherlock, Sherlock recruiting John to investigate Lauriston Gardens), as well as rendering locations in great detail - it's a pleasure to see Russell Square Gardens so accurately represented in an angle we never see onscreen for example. Characters are also instantly recognisable despite their Manga makeover, with Lestrade maybe being the sole anomaly.


What's missing is one of Sherlock's trademarks in the form of the famous floating text for his deductions, which we instead see safely enclosed in text boxes - the famous mass texting of 'WRONG!' during the Police press conference is a great example. Elsewhere in the art, sound effects remain in Japanese, with an English 'subtitle' placed just below in the border of the art panel.

Although published in Japan as a single graphic album, the Titan Comics release divides the story up into six monthly issues. The break is perfectly placed in this first issue though, effectively creating a cliffhanger out of a moment you never could have considered to be one, and despite our familiarity with the story it brilliantly makes us want to read the next issue immediately! The Game is indeed On, and this release of Sherlock in Manga form truly works a treat as a new way to revisit our favourite show.

UK: Order or subscribe from Forbidden Planet.

USA: Find your local Comic Book Store.

DIGITAL (Dependent on regional availability): Comixology.