Review: Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #1 & 2

When I pick up a comic, I don't usually expect to see athletes on the cover. Sure, maybe it's a book about some one-shot about Spider-Man meeting someone or some such story. I never expected to see an athlete as the frontliner for book credits, but here we are; Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook, with a number of credits in all much smaller font than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Yes. The basketball player. Mycroft Cover AWe begin back in the London Museum in 1874. A teacher is attempting to explain the Rosetta Stone to a group of kids when one spots a suspicious man doing some shady stuff. The man leaves quickly, but not before dropping some round gold trinket. Two of the boys retrieve it and examine it only to have it snatched away by the teacher. As the teacher holds it and begins to give the boys a hard time, the trinket starts to glow and explodes, destroying the teacher and covering the children in his remains. The explosion causes the entire museum to come crashing down. The suspicious man returns and retrieves his trinket, which appears to have returned to its original form.

We move ahead to a classroom scene in which a professor is posing a moral dilemma to his students. One student addressed as 'Holmes' by the professor, makes a comment in poor taste which leads to the professor attempting to get him expelled, which fails. Another professor, one that seems to like Mycroft and has seemingly saved him from being expelled in the past arrives and again helps our hero.

Afterward, we find ourselves in Mycroft's room, in bed, with the professor's wife. Enter Sherlock Holmes, the brother of Mycroft, in which a very humorous exchange occurs. Suddenly, a group of masked men enters and after a fight kidnap Mycroft. Sherlock is convinced it is another one of his brother's hoaxes and leaves. The professor's wife decides she must save him. After a short scene of torture and Mycroft using his skills to escape, we find out that it was the nice professor that kidnapped him.

Book 2 starts off in 'the world's biggest toy store,' which actually houses all kinds of devices, from flying machines to things that look a lot like that mystery trinket from issue 1. Holmes, the professor, and some royal woman all decide that the museum being blown up has a link to a secret auction being held soon, where someone is selling one of these exploding trinkets. They head out to find out more details; there's a run-in with police, and an encounter with one of the classic monster movie creatures!

mycroft_02_cover_aThis book has left me very surprised! I figured with the last name 'Holmes' that there would be some ties to Sherlock, and I am a sucker for adventure stories taking place around this time period, but overall it was a very good book. Original? Some elements are. Mycroft is very gifted, like Sherlock, and there are situations in which he knows what to do to get himself out of trouble, but he's not perfect and still gets caught up sometimes. They do spend some time exploring inventions that didn't really exist back then, which I also always like in books. The exchange between Mycroft and Sherlock was very entertaining as well, as the writer has created such a back and forth that you can almost imagine them bickering.

The art was very good. It had that old-time period look to it, very fitting considering the time period of the story. The characters are all very nice and well drawn, and the art stayed consistent throughout the book. I did find myself examining panels for longer than usual, taking in the details.

As I said, I'm always in for a story like this. The writing and the art has me invested, and I think this will be a very fresh take on the tired 'Sherlock Holmes' story. If you're into some mystery and adventure with a few sprinkles of nudity, this is your book.

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Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook #1 & 2 Writers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raymond Obstfeld Artist: Joshua Cassara Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital