A Different Kind of Holmes: Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook

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Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook, Titan Comics

I'm a sucker for a good steampunk story. There's a certain irresistable charm to the notion of high technology in such a low-tech world as the Victorian era. And that is, naturally, what is up in the world of MYCROFT HOLMES AND THE APOCALYPSE HANDBOOK, written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld.

Terrorist attacks have begun in England and America -- demonstrations of the capabilities of the weapons that have been designed by a group of futurists (notable authors whose names you would surely recognize) and brought to reality by a team of engineers. But the designs have, naturally, fallen into the wrong hands and now every country in the world must bid on the weapons lest they become the victims of them. Thus is young Mycroft Holmes recruited into the service of Her Majesty, Victoria, to find the so-called Apocalypse Book and bring it back to England. It's a journey that takes him to America, into the partnership of a woman named Adler, and into confrontation with the James Gang -- among other faces that will gain familiarity as the story unwinds.

Mycroft is a far cry from the type of Holmes fans might be expecting, whether the dyed-in-the-wool fans of Doyle's stories or the current crop who came into the fandom through the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch. He's a womanizer with an impish sense of humor, and never above a complicated prank if he can pull it off, particularly over his little brother, Sherlock. When dealing with an enemy face to face, he does it with a smug arrogance that owes more to Ian Fleming than Arthur Conan Doyle. And the famous Holmesian deductions are glossed over, with results simply appearing and Mycroft asking not to be insulted when asked how to explain grossly simple deductions.

Artistically, Joshua Cassara's panels are brilliant, aided greatly by Luis Guerrero's colors. Each page evokes just the right mood to match the actions portrayed (and throwing in an old-school Dalek was a nice touch for the fans).

It's a fun story, and a nice bit of alternative history mixed with Victorian literature. However, as a Holmes story, it falls a bit short, cerebrally, from this fan's expectations.

3.5 / 5.0