Review: Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #1
Retired NBA superstar and United States cultural ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, mystery novelist Raymond Obstfeld, and artist Joshua Cassara (New Avengers) join forces in Mycroft #1 to tell a clever and occasionally saucy mystery adventure story about Sherlock Holmes’ older brother. Cassara has a smooth, cinematic art style from the opening scene where the British Museum is destroyed by a mysterious bauble. The theme of not dwelling in the past and embracing is reinforced throughout the book as Mycroft laughs at his fellow students for fawning over the Mona Lisa in a philosophical exercise where they had to choose either to save a dog or the famous painting. He would have just saved his own ass.
Mycroft #1 is most concerned with showing the character of its protagonist, but Abdul-Jabbar and Obstfeld throw in some fun twists and turns to keep you on your toes. Even though it’s set in Victorian England when Mycroft and Sherlock were still students (And when our antihero had a six pack instead of being his traditional portly self.), it’s far from stuffy as Mycroft spends a lecture making a crude Punch-style cartoon of his professor and then sleeping with the professor’s wife. But there’s a twist as he wanted Sherlock to walk in on them and see a naked woman for the first time. Mycroft is just as intelligent (If not more.) as Sherlock, but he has a true, rebellious streak and spends his life playing pranks and games on less intelligent beings. However, his carefree life could be coming to an end with a last page cliffhanger that changes the comic from the British version of Casanova to more League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Steampunk elements were already a big part of the aesthetic of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films, but Abdul-Jabbar, Obstfeld, and Cassara take a subtler touch in introducing elements of the genre to Mycroft #1. Instead of giant airships, there are little mechanical doo-dads in the background with colorist Luis Guerrero adding dashes of gold in his palette to break up the greys and blacks of Victorian interior decorating. Steampunk also fits in with the theme of progress and thinking out of the box as Mycroft uses both to get himself out of an awkward situation at the end of the issue.
In Mycroft #1, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld craft a protagonist that is basically the Tony Stark of the Victorian Era. He is a polymath, can solve a mystery while burning you with a one liner, and has a kind of roguish charisma whereas his brother Sherlock can only stutter his future catchphrase. (And if basketball was invented, Mycroft would probably have one hell of a skyhook.) Artist Joshua Cassara adds to Mycroft’s appeal by drawing the lazy, self-absorbed genius exuding great confidence with winks and smiles while the people around him are crying out with outrage. By the time the issue closes (With a joke and a cliffhanger.), you’re not sure if you want to be Mycroft or be with him, and you will definitely prefer him to Sherlock.
Story: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld Art: Joshua Cassara Colors: Luis Guerrero
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review