Mangaka: Yayoi Neko
Release Date: 2009
Based On: Sherlock Holmes
Pairing: Sherlock Holmes/John Watson
Purchased From: Artist's DeviantArt page
Purchase Price: US $17.00
Holmes and Waton investigate the dark world of blackmail with the untouchable Charles Augustus Milverton as their target. But with a seemingly impossible task ahead, they are forced to take matters into their own hands to stop him before someone else gets hurt.
For a preview of the pages, please visit the artist's DeviantArt page.
If you're at all familiar with the original story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this does not deviate much from that story. Although saying it like that makes it sound like this is a bland retelling with nothing new to offer.
Yayoi Neko manages to depict Holmes and Watson in a way that I love but wasn't able to put my finger on before I read this. Her comics are in the bara style of art, making our heroes tall, muscular and masculine with a healthy dash of Jeremy Brett and David Burke.
The dialogue and scenes from the original story are intact, but the brilliant re-interpretation comes when said dialogue and scenes are woven into a romantic embrace of Holmes and Watson, the former comparing Milverton to the snakes at the zoo while seductively wrapping his arms around Watson in front of the fireplace. The background of the anonymous woman in the climax, whose blackmail material is never revealed in the book, is shown in a passionate embrace with another woman while her husband reads the love letters she sent before he commits suicide.
There is no explicit content in this doujinshi, as the author herself explained in the notes, "the eroticism connecting Holmes and Watson are expressed in the readers' knowledge of the timeline in which the stories were written".
Adding an existing romantic relationship between Holmes and Watson is particularly fitting in this story I feel, because one can only assume how eager Milverton would be to obtain evidence of Holmes proclivities and how it would destroy both their lives. It helps add another dimension of Holmes' hatred towards the man and particularly adds weight to his line to Lestrade in the epilogue of his sympathies lying with the criminals in the case of Milverton's murder.
Holmes and Watson return home from an evening stroll to find a calling card from one Charles Augustus Milverton. Not knowing who he is, Watson asks Holmes as the two slowly fall onto the seat in front of the fire together.
Holmes describes him as the most evil man in London. He is a blackmailer who holds some of the most powerful and influential people in Britain in his hands. Holmes has been hired by a wealthy woman engaged to be married who is under Milverton's thumb.
When Milverton does call, Holmes attempts to persuade him to drop his blackmailing campaign and then attempts to get his notebook off him, both which fail.
With little other choice, they decide to break into his mansion and retrieve the incriminating evidence. They're stuck behind a curtain together when Milverton enters the room, however, until an unknown woman enters the house. She's one of Milverton's victims, whose husband committed suicide when given the material used to blackmail her.
Milverton taunts her, believing she can do nothing to him, but she pulls out a gun and shoots him dead. As she leaves, Holmes and Watson waste no time in burning everything in his safe, freeing many men and women from his clutches.
Avoiding capture, they flee and are later visited by Lestrade to help investigate the incident they witnessed, but Holmes demurs. He later realises he recognised the woman and runs with Watson to the street where they see a photo of her. They stroll back through London sombrely.