Review: Sherlock Holmes and The Empire Builders The Gene Genie Volume One

by Benjamin Williams
6th January, 2024
3 minutes

If you're a fan of poring over black and white artwork, mystery, intrigue, Sherlock Holmes, and a dash of sci-fi with your Victorian/Edwardian-era stories, then Sherlock Holmes and The Empire Builders: The Gene Genie could be exactly what you're after. This new series from Tripwire Comics' Joel Meadows, with Andy Bennett on art, has all the makings to be something special.

Sherlock Holmes and The Empire Builders The Gene Genie Volume One

Sherlock Holmes and the Empire Builders is a science fiction adventure taking place in an alternate world, featuring the world-renowned detective in a way never seen before.

Watson leaves Holmes to assist Crick in unravelling the DNA helix. However, he ends up working for England's most evil man. In order to defeat this monstrous figure and restore England to its previous state, Holmes must join forces with an unlikely group.

The art by Andy Bennett is a style that I absolutely adore. The black and white inked drawings create a sense of realism and seriousness, with some nice cross-hatching for added texture or shadows where needed. Large sections are fairly simplistic in that it uses heavy use of black of white blocks, letting the linework take centre stage. A few single-panel pages really stand out in showing that this comic is a real work of art.

Sherlock Holmes and The Empire Builders preview 1

The intricately crafted art style effortlessly captures the reader's attention and imagination with a masterful use of light and shadow. It creates an immersive atmosphere that sets the perfect tone for a thrilling and dramatic story, promising a journey that will leave the reader on the edge of their seat.

That thrilling and dramatic story is written by Tripwire Magazine's Joel Meadows, whom I had the pleasure of talking to at Thought Bubble last year. Taking on the legendary Sherlock Holmes is no mean feat, especially when you're looking for something fresh. So, moving this to an alternative world and adding in some sci-fi elements gives this Sherlock story something different. It's far from heavy on the sci-fi side of things, but you never know what's going to come in volume two - although I'm quite happy with subtle sci-fi tones rather than full-blown sci-fi madness, even if I am a sci-fi fan.

Joel shows a great understanding of what can make a Sherlock story enjoyable. To create a captivating and original comic book series that blends historical fiction, science fiction, and mystery in a compelling way shows his ability to craft a different kind of Sherlock story whilst still showing respect to a beloved character. The story is well-written, engaging, and full of twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing what's to come. 

Sherlock Holmes and The Empire Builders preview 2

Sherlock Holmes and The Empire Builders: The Gene Genie is a comic that has my attention, and I'll be eagerly awaiting the next instalment. The creators, Joel Meadows and Andy Bennett have crafted a story that pays homage to the original Sherlock Holmes while also adding their own twists and innovations. The art style is stunning, with detailed and attention-grabbing black-and-white drawings that create a vivid and immersive atmosphere. The comic is a must-read for fans of Sherlock Holmes, as well as anyone who enjoys a good adventure. The first volume sets up an intriguing plot that'll leave you eager for more, and promises a thrilling and satisfying journey ahead.

If you want to read a digital copy, you can do so via Global Comix. Or if you'd rather have a physical edition, you can grab a copy from Tripwires bigcartel store for £25.

Rating: 4.5/5

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