There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the ins and outs of a good mystery. Perhaps this is why I’ve taken a liking to Moriarty the Patriot, a unique twist on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved Sherlock Holmes series where the big villain is the hero of the story. Volume One introduced us to William James Moriarty’s origins, as well as his reasons behind his crime spree. In Volume Two, he begins to put his biggest plans into action.

With all of London his stage, William Moriarty begins to dig around for the most wicked of aristocrats. From a new kind of opium appearing on the streets to a murder on a cruise, Moriarty seeks to rid the world of those who treat the working class like scum. However, a new star appears in Moriarty’s spotlight, one who could be either useful or harmful to Moriarty’s goals. His name: Sherlock Holmes.

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What makes this volume of Moriarty the Patriot fun is seeing how far along the titular character plans out every action and motion. He’s like a master chess player, one who can guess the movements of his opponents five plays ahead. Because of a wicked noble’s predictable behaviors, Moriarty can map out just how they’d react to certain situations, even if it appears that they’ve been swept away into a crime out of the blue. This is best showcased in the volume’s first chapter “The Case of the Noble Kidnapping”, where Moriarty sets himself up to be taken by the foes, so as to take down a drug ring from within.

But the real joy comes in the form of the two-parter “The Noahtic”, which starts off like most of the manga’s chapters. However, when Sherlock Holmes is found to be on the same ship as the target, the curtain finally draws open for Moriarty’s play to begin. While he stays more in the secondary character role for the most part, Holmes’s participation in Moriarty’s show at the end is where the final role of this working class revolution is filled. This becomes more evident in the the first part of “A Study in S”, where Holmes’s costar makes his debut in the spotlight.

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Even if you already know the stories of the men of 221B Baker Street, there’s a real wow factor that’s delivered by Ryosuke Takeuchi and Hikaru Miyoshi’s presentation. There have been gritty adaptations of Sir Doyle’s works, but the way these two artists bring the anger and devilish delight to these characters is truly wonderful to behold. While we may know how these cases will go down, the joy is seeing how the puzzle is ripped apart before Holmes & Watson can piece it back together.

All the world’s a stage, as William Shakespeare once said. We just need a good show to provide something entertaining to make it interesting. William James Moriarty is doing just that, and while one can argue about whether he’s truly the greater or lesser of the two evils, it’s obvious that someone out there is delighted with the deaths of those greedily at the top. Perhaps that’s what has made the second volume of Moriarty the Patriot a jolly good show for fans of Sir Doyle’s works, as there’s a guilty pleasure found when rooting for the bad guys.

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FINAL GRADE:

Promotional consideration provided by Gabrielle Dyer of VIZ Media

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