Mark Twain and his band of Futurists. Who knew?
In my rabbit hole of Holmesian comic books and graphic novels, I finally set upon Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook written by Kareen Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld.
The story takes place in Mycroft Holmes’ younger years, still in university and refusing to make his mark on the world. Making his mark on his professor’s wives is completely another story.
England is in trouble, a group of famous authors from the 19th century were brought together for the sole purpose of creating a hive mind of the most fantastical weapons and gadgets they could come up with and a group of scientists were formed to bring these creations to life. And they succeeded. And of course, those gadgets went directly into the wrong hands.
So Mycroft Holmes is called upon by the Queen of England herself to track down the original blueprints of these creations before they fall into the wrong hands. The blueprints were sent to St. Louis Missouri.
Lucky St. Louis. To have almost both Holmes brothers inside the Gateway to the West.
In his journey, Mycroft Holmes manages to kiss Queen Victoria’s body double, end up on a train with Jesse James, meet the bad ass daughter of an escaped black man and a Cheyenne woman, escape death through an outhouse, and of course, stop the villains from taking over the world. Or at least selling the means to the highest bidder.
Having read all three of Kareen Abdul-Jabbar’s previous Mycroft Holmes books, I am surprised at the different turn of the eldest Holmes here. A younger James Bond would be jealous. The Mycroft Holmes of the books doesn’t even seem like this would be his younger self. This might be his younger self in an alternate universe full of steampunk monsters and crossed over with A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In fact, according to Comics Worth Reading, an older Mycroft Holmes did appear in the LoEG comic series so technically, it could make sense.
Canon Mycroft Holmes would be rolling in his proverbial grave.
All that said, while I wasn’t a huge fan of this novel as I was with A Study in Emerald or Major Holmes & Captain Watson, I was impressed with the variation of major character names. Holmes, Adler, Moriarty. I do have to admit, it was fun watching the elder Holmes get into adventures with the Adler woman. Even if they probably aren’t from the same lineage. What I really liked was the portrayal of young Sherlock Holmes, and the bit of backstory. It was confusing, the bouncing back and forth, but it answered questions brought up at that time. The plot was interesting, the mechanics of the devices amusing, and it was fun to watch Mycroft be the complete and utter bastard he never got to be. He deserved every one of those punches he received throughout the series.
And of course, I have a favorite quote:
Adler: “How do you know such things?
Holmes: My brother Sherlock and I have always competed to see who could dazzle the other with the most obscure knowledge.
Adler: Sounds exhausting. Can’t you just say, “I love you”?
Holmes: You are assuredly not English.
If you’re looking for a canonical Holmesian comic, this ain’t it. But if you want something amusing and well-drawn and completely in another universe from the Conan Doyle canon, pick it up.
June’s almost over! How did that happen? No matter, enjoy your summertime activities my friends, and make sure that includes relaxing with a cool drink and a good book.