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Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Joker 6 - Sherlock Holmes vs the Joker

Denny O'Neil joins Novick and Blaisdell for the story in The Joker 6 (March/April 1976), pitting the villain against Sherlock Holmes, in a way.

The Joker sets out to commit a series of crimes inspired by the titles of Sherlock Holmes stories. This is done to prove that he is superior to the legendary detective. But in his first outing the Joker, dressed up as Moriarty, attacks a theatre where an actor is playing Holmes onstage. The Joker winds up giving the actor a concussion, and the man comes to believe that he really is Sherlock Holmes.

It's a kind of silly way to get to the point of having Sherlock Holmes battle the Joker, but it works. Almost too well. Holmes all but overwhelms the story. The Joker steals a number of objects during the course of the story, but they are largely valueless, only taken to complete his games. Stealing a picture of the actress playing Irene Adler from the theatre, the Bohemia, counts as A Scandal in Bohemia.

A stagehand is sent to keep tabs on the confused actor, and conveniently his nickname is Doc Watson. We follow a number of crimes, based on The Red Headed League, The Sign of the Four, and the Bruce Partington Plans

Holmes always figures out where the Joker will strike, but fails to defeat him until the final encounter, a theft based on the Hound of the Baskervilles. You gotta feel a bit bad for the actor, though, who never actually gets his mind back, ending the story still believing he is Sherlock Holmes.

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