In volume two of Ryoksuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi’s Sherlock Holmes-inspired manga, Moriarty the Patriot, the famous consulting detective doesn’t appear until the second act. And when he does, he’s not a match for the brilliant professor Moriarty—at least not yet.
The manga’s second book continues its elaborate choreography as William James Moriarty, aided by his two brothers, work on setting the stage for their ultimate goal of taking down the British aristocracy. The manga has switched Professor Moriarty from villain to anti-hero as he and his associates pursue untouchable, well-connected (and aristocratic) criminals, from former East India Company opium dealers to kidnappers, and murderous members of the Peerage.
While it may seem very disconnected from the classic Holmes’ stories, Moriarty the Patriot is well-researched and is respectful of Doyle’s canon. Moriarty’s brothers either appear directly or are mentioned in Doyle’s books, as are his cohorts, Sebastian Moran and Fred Pollack (who have assisted in all of the manga’s capers so far.) Although writer Takeushi may take liberties with the some character details, there is much to be admired in the way the original material is interpreted and the way it gives credence to Moriarty’s motivation.
Moriarty plans with mathematical precision. He realizes that to bring the crimes of the nobility to light, he will need to stage the exposure on a grand scale. And it appears as if Sherlock Holmes will be one of the most valuable players in this set piece. Acts two and three take place on a titanic (small T) ocean liner called the Noahtic, where Moriarty manipulates a villainous lord into committing murder in front of hundreds of passengers, thus proving to Moriarty that he needs vast public exposure to get commoners to see the true evil in the aristocracy.
The final act in the manga is called “A Study in S.” But it doesn’t play out exactly like A Study in Scarlet. This case (where we are also introduced to Dr. John Watson) is really just Sherlock Holmes’ audition as the detective Moriarty needs to set up his grand plan.
This is a well-written manga with a lot of moving plot points that are being woven together, giving the reader just enough information to anticipate what’s coming, but not to see the entire picture–which is what a good mystery should do. There should be plenty of twists down the road in the series.
The artwork is typical bishonen (pretty boys). All the characters are attractive and the action flows easily within and outside of the panels.
It’s a solid second outing for the series and it should certainly keep readers coming back for more. Recommended for detective mystery fans, especially those of Sherlock Holmes (although he doesn’t always come through as well as some fans may wish). This is a good series for any YA or adult manga collection, with some darker plot points and some bloodshed but nothing that might be inappropriate for teens.
The series has an anime adaptation, the second part of which will air in April of 2021, which may continue to increase its popularity with manga readers.
Moriatry the Patriot, Vol. 2
By Ryosuke Takeushi
Art by Hikaru Miyoshi
Viz Media, 2021
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teens
Series ISBNS and Order
Title Details and Representation
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18)
Character Traits: British
Creator Highlights: Japanese
Related to…: Book to Comic