To everyone who believes that all professional athletes can do is ball, think again. NBA all-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar brings his game to the page in Titan Comic’s Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook, proving that even athletes can succumb to their geeky side.
The comic is based on the book Abdul-Jabbar co-authored and published last year, and anyone familiar with his Time articles, the excellence in the writing comes as a surprise to no one. The story follows the adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ brilliant and cheeky to the point of insolence brother, Mycroft Holmes. Despite being based on the characters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic stories, one need not have read any of them to enjoy the face-paced and witty narrative Abdul-Jabbar pens.
I found myself absorbed in the story from the very beginning, a mysterious man with a futuristic looking orb immediately grabbed my attention. After this initial conflict is set up, we’re introduced to Mycroft, who is a graduate student in philosophy. The witty Mycroft has no issue saying exactly what he pleases, no matter who he offends in the process. He manages to draw the ire of all of his classmates and humiliate his professor with a few well-placed comments. Unlike Sherlock Holmes of the Netflix Sherlock fame, Mycroft is socially inept, but is very aware of how he comes off to others. It is this absolute confidence in his cutting dialogue that makes him one of those fascinating characters that you should hate, but secretly love because you can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with next.
Mycroft is rogue-ish in a way that I have never seen him or his brother depicted in any Sherlock Holmes remake. He’s a carefree adulterer, but his relationship with Sherlock remains steadfastly antagonistic. Sherlock makes an appearance mid-way through, and their initial exchange had me both laughing out loud and also grateful that I don’t have siblings. Mycroft makes a point of highlighting Sherlock’s eccentricities, rendering him the recognizable, obsessive compulsive detective we all know and love. They’re both so smart in their underhanded, yet strangely loving insults of each other.
Not only are the characters beautifully fleshed out, the story itself is intriguing. Mycroft’s nonchalance is underscored by his inability to take anything seriously, even when he is taken hostage in his own home. The masked villain is sufficiently scary and takes on the steampunk aesthetic, with an intricately designed metallic mask and a robotic hand, which I find is an interesting way to infuse a bit of modernity into a story that takes places at the end of the 19th century without taking you out of the period. And the verbal jabs Mycroft exchanges with his captor is familiar to anyone who loves a good Bond-esque movie.
Mycroft is given a distinctive narrative that frames him very much in the vein of a superhero but without the powers. He’s intelligent, somewhat immoral and prepared for the physicality of the life he’s chosen for himself. At the end of the issue, I was already excited for the next installment to see what he would get himself into next. Anyone who loves a good adventure story and smart, faced paced dialogue is going to adore Mycroft Holmes. A solid 10/10 from me.
Ravynn Stringfield is recent graduate of the University of Virginia and rising graduate student at the College of William and Mary. She enjoys Black self-expression, collecting sweat-shirts with popular culture references on them, and regularly gives dissertation length talks about representations of Lois Lane in American culture to her dog, Genghis Khan. She can be found on Twitter: @RavynnKaMia