Written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld | Art by Joshua Cassara | Published by Titan Comics
This being Issue 5 means this is the last issue, in these days of “5 issues make the perfect graphic novel collection size”. Sometimes that artificial restriction does impact on the story, as pacing goes noticeably awry when too much padding is thrown in, or two issues worth of story in one issue. Mycroft Holmes has avoided all that luckily, pacing has been spot on, each development spinning out of the other organically, and I am guessing this series will be as enjoyable as a single session read as it has been in five bite size chunks. Time to chew on that final piece then, let’s hope it’s tasty.
For those that came in late, buy the collection if possible as you’ve missed a lot, but basically Mycroft Holmes has been on a mission to find The Apocalypse Handbook. This handbook contains the blueprints for weapons of mass destruction, steam punk Victorian style. The book is currently held by Mr. Mason, a very nasty piece of work. On his journey Mycroft has gained a sidekick of sorts, cowgirl Lark Adler, and most recently survived a run-in with the Jesse and Frank James gang. Although Mycroft and Lark escaped the James gang, their young ward, Kerry, has been abducted, and the price of her return is the blueprints Mycroft and Lark have in their possession. No pressure, then.
Mycroft Holmes #5 kicks off with another flashback, to the time of Mycroft and Sherlock’s mother’s death. It again emphasizes the difference between the two, with Mycroft accepting the tragedy but young Sherlock convinced she could have been murdered. Sherlock doesn’t even attend the funeral as he works on finding her ‘killer’. These flashbacks are key to Mycroft’s character, as they show that although he is every bit as smart as his brother, he also has emotional responses to things, not just analytical ones, like Sherlock. A more well-adjusted genius, if you will. Not too well adjusted, though, as Mycroft admits to Lark that his brother’s and his attempts to constantly out-do each other are essentially their way of saying ‘I love you’.
The ransom letter arrives, and the game is afoot. Mycroft, though, decides to not go the named location, suspecting (correctly) an ambush is waiting for them there. Instead, he goes straight into the lion’s den, and goes to Mr. Mason’s auction, where those big blueprints are being sold off to the highest bidder. Mycroft avoids a swift end by claiming he is there to bid alongside everyone else. The big ‘I didn’t see that coming’ moment’ however, is when Mycroft reveals he has known ward Kerry was a ringer all along. Turns out she is really Edith Moriarty, niece of Professor James Moriarty. Yep, that same Moriarty who will go on to be Sherlock’s nemesis.
As befits such a grand tale, the big finish takes place at Mr. Mason’s auction, attended by several major countries representatives. I won’t go into detail, but we get a few deaths, a plot to poison the city foiled, and a narrow escape for Mycroft and Lark. Mr. Mason, in the best villain tradition, gets a dose of his own, rather poisonous , medicine. It’s a breathless few pages. Oh, and Mycroft squeezes out some eyeballs. Don’t mess with the Holmes boys.
After that mess, we get the clean up, as Mycroft revealed how he was pretty much always several steps ahead of everyone else, including us readers. Not to us, but to Queen Victoria. She likes him, and offers him a job with the British Government, even after Mycroft politely refuses to hand over those blueprints, preferring to keep them safe himself. Job done.
Job done indeed, for both Mycroft and the creative team, as this has been a fun ride indeed. Lots of action, clever writing, well designed and drawn art, and fantastic dialogue. Even more impressive, adding those little background details to the Sherlock and Mycroft dynamic.
Let’s hope we get to see more of Mycroft.
Mycroft Holmes #5 is released by Titan Comics on Wednesday February 15th.