Mycroft Holmes doesn’t randomly look for trouble. He studies people’s personality, notices the trouble, and then invites them over for a friendly chat. It’s safe to say this quality is readily apparent in the latest chapter of Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook. In this instance, he invites the “infamous bandit Jesse James” over for a proposition that would earn the gunslinger a lot more money than a simple train heist.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld craft another story in this series, highlighting how Holmes is a master of deduction, pointing out that “no one’s a mystery,” while providing another glimpse into a world filled with terrifying, futuristic devices. At the beginning of issue four in this series, a synopsis details that Mycroft and his comrade, Adler, are in search of blueprints by order of the Queen of England. To continue their search, they left Victorian England and went to America, because these schematics are for highly advanced weaponry and must be kept out of the wrong hands.
Now, this particular comic book doesn’t have any monsters like previously seen in issue two, but it does show how deadly these weapons can be, which you can also find from descriptions in issue three. In this case, Holmes is fortunate to be nowhere near these weapons. Holmes’ nemesis in this storyline uses a small piece of equipment to show his subordinates who is in charge, and to not get too ambitious. This weapon is unassuming, since it’s a regularly used item for its time. One might describe the end result of this gadget similar to a moment from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where the path to the Holy Grail won’t be as difficult if one “is humble” and quick enough to realize what’s coming ahead. It’s safe to say you’ll never look at a pocket watch the same again.
Joshua Cassara and Luis Guerrero team up again to illustrate Mycroft, letting any form of light amplify their drawings of that time period. Yellow and orange colors glow from the pages, while shadows creep near the characters’ faces or bodies. This distinct feature provides a pleasant reminder to those fond of historical fiction and how things look without modern comforts. In addition to bold pops of color associated with sunlight, lanterns, or fire, there are more flashbacks into Mycroft’s earlier years, as well as providing some background to his mysterious companion, Adler. Guerrero seems to use slightly faded tones during these memories, further adding to the 1800s feel this story provides.
Abdul-Jabbar and Obstfeld again place Holmes in dangerous situations, but Adler uses quick action to help keep them both alive. This issue builds upon their relationship, sometimes with a wicked left hook, while leaving the reader with another cliffhanger at the end.
Mycroft #4 will be available on Wednesday, December 21, in print and digital form.