Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia Part Two

Writer / Artist


Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia Part Two
Sherlock A Scandal in Belgravia Part Two review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Titan - 978-1-7858-6549-7
  • Volume No.: 5
  • Release date: 2023
  • Format: Black and white
  • UPC: 9781785865497
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

A Scandal in Belgravia is one of the more complicated episodes of a complex TV show, and breaking with tradition by splitting the adaptation over two graphic novels ensures a more faithful experience in some respects. In Part One Sherlock seemingly met his match in Irene Adler, a dominatrix employed by the rich and powerful, who entrusted him with a phone containing information about her clients, and then disappeared. She was presumed by all to be dead, but the opening book concluded with her reappearance.

It’s revealed she faked her death hoping to avoid being killed by people wanting her phone, and as that just endangered Sherlock instead she’d like the phone back. However, as he loves a puzzle, he’s not willing to return it without learning just what information has proved so dangerous.

As with this entire series, Jay adapts the original script by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, but a drawback to splitting the adaptation over two books is there being comparatively little action over the first half of Part Two. Jay pulls out a formidable array of storytelling tricks, but as he almost exclusively uses figures with backgrounds non-existent or bare bones, no matter how well he draws them, there’s not enough variety to the art. The other artistic problem is Jay drawing a perfect likeness of Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock, but not capturing the remainder of the cast as well.

Over the first half the best sequence is Irene attempting to seduce Sherlock, with the viewpoint moving in closer and closer. “Have you ever had anyone”, Irene asks, adding “and when I say had, I’m being indelicate”. The scene fair crackles with sexual tension over several pages.

As triumphant as the Sherlock stories are, there’s also an element of showing off, of over-complicating matters to make the writers look good, and that’s what Gatiss and Moffat pull here. It’s more apparent when read as a graphic novel than when the actors are distracting from it on screen, and an improbable, although stylishly executed, final twist just adds to the feeling.

Jay is adapting the episodes in order of screening, so Hound of the Baskervilles is surely next.