I'm a fan of graphic storytelling, and more of a fan of the Sherlock Holmes canon than the average citizen, so this particular bit of pastiche caught my attention. Here the focus is not on Holmes, but on the titular "Irregulars," that band of street ragamuffins he used as minor henchmen. The plot kicks off when Dr. Watson is identified as the perpetrator of a grisly slaying in Hyde Park. Leaving aside the implausibility that in Victorian London a respected gentleman who has worked with law enforcement would go to jail on the word of a prostitute (or that the prostitute would come forward as a witness to start with), as well as the implausibility that Holmes would heed a directive to head overseas while Dr. Watson was in the lurch, Holmes places the good doctor's liberation in the hands of his urchin Irregulars.
From here, the story takes an altogether unexpected turn, as the Irregulars turn up evidence of the dark arts, and the malign hand of Professor Moriarty. Indeed, as the tale grew ever more fantastical and veered into the realm of opening interdimensional gates, summoning ancient Egyptian demons, and so forth, I felt as if the writers had stopped channeling Doyle in favor of Lovecraft. And indeed, a little poking around on the internet reveals the plotline to be a Lovecraftian one and at least one of the characters (a violin-player of some considerable power) to be borrowed from a Lovecraft short story (see "The Music of Erich Zann"). This raises a complaint I have: in the front of the book "grateful acknowledgement" is given for the use of Doyle's characters, however no mention is made anywhere that both character and plot elements have also been borrowed from Lovecraft. Yes, most of Lovecraft's work is now generally believed to be in the public domain, but that doesn't mean you don't cite it! (And for the record, this is hardly the first Doyle/Lovecraft mashup, Neil Gaiman's Hugo-winning short story "A Study in Emerald" is freely available online.
Anyway, I've never been a huge fan of Lovecraft's baroque tales, so when the Irregulars find themselves trapped in another horrifying dimension, I rapidly lost interest. A nice job is done giving the sextet (plus a dog) some personality and individual quirks and characteristics, but once the spells start flying and netherworldly creatures start appearing (not to mention a shapeshifting character based on the Springheel Jack legend), I was hard pressed to care. Others may get more mileage from it. The black and white artwork is impressively detailed and does a very nice job capturing faces, however there is sometimes a certain flatness to it that make some of the crammed panels hard to decipher. I'd definitely be interested in seeing further adventures from the Irregulars as long a they steer clear of the fantastical.