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Character Spotlight: Professor Moriarty

Written by Zechs on Monday, September 19 2011 and posted in Features

This week in the Character Spotlight, things get a little bit evil and old school, with the focus on Professor Moriarty from the ongoing Image series, Moriarty!

Origin Story:

The Napoleon of Crime, Professor James Moriarty, was ruling the British criminal underworld until he hit a snag - Britain's greatest sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. The two opposites decided to end their feud at Reichenbach Falls, where this particular incarnation of Moriarty continues on.


Instead of Holmes, Moriarty survives; Moriarty believes nothing can top the defeat of his greatest enemy, and thus continues consulting criminals on illegal behavior, but nothing grander. In fact, Moriarty becomes rather bored after slaying his "dragon" - no one is chasing him anymore. There seems to be nothing of interest left, until he is forced to take on an assignment that reawakens the Moriarty of old. And the game he so missed resumes once more, with new and old foes trying to take out the Professor.

Character Appeal:

Giving us an alternate take on the Sherlock Holmes story, The Final Problem is an interesting concept of role reversal; witnessing Moriarty cope with living after his arch-rival, Holmes, is dead.

Then there is the way he acts. You see some rather Holmes-esque styling with Moriarty, truly earning his status as the other side of the coin. You get that his mind is always thinking, always on the move. That any moment he stops, he'll feel exposed and weak. Add to that the fact that when we see him at the start, he's almost bored with life given there's no "dragon" to fight any longer. Throughout the course of the first story, you see that fire within the Professor slowly start to flicker until the very end, when Professor Moriarty is reborn once again. 


Though he is the protagonist of the story, Moriarty is still a fiend at heart. Still, you can see the difference between his villainy and that of the storyline's antagonist. The villain of this four-issue arc is a different kind of evil than that of the orderly Professor. This villian wants utter chaos and is willing to tip the entire world into it. Another difference is how James conducts himself when on the hunt, always stating in his mind the rules of survival. The rules are fascinating, yet not surprising trait, of how a character lives and endures in this seedy lifestyle.

Top Storylines:


Moriarty: The Dark Chamber #1-4/Moriarty Volume 1 - Twenty years after he's defeated and killed Sherlock Holmes, with the onset of World War I, Professor James Moriarty finds himself at a crossroads. He is entirely bored with life and has no real opponent to test his wits. That ends when the British agency MI: 5 finds and blackmails him into a case involving the disappearance of Holmes' brother, Mycroft. The investigation becomes entangled with new and familiar faces, a mysterious box, and a foe trying to one up the good Professor's criminal enterprises by seeking world domination.

Professor Moriarty Can Even Beat Superman:

He's Professor Moriarty, and in this story he's beaten Sherlock Holmes. You know, the greatest detective in all of literature? Yeah... he'll eat Kal-El for breakfast before growing bored and setting his sights on a new opponent, Batman.


Where the Character is today:

Currently this interpretation of the character is on hiatus until October, when the second arc for the series, Moriarty: The Lazarus Tree (from Image Comics) hits shelves.

Moriarty Vol. 1 collecting the first four issues of the series will be released at the end of the month, September 27.


Written or Contributed by: Zechs


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About the Author - Zechs

Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Moment of the Week, and Durnkin Reveewz. He's also the official whuppin boy at the Outhouse. So he'll get stuck seeing stuff that no mere mortal should ever see. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. He's also brutally honest. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.


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