Rating: 4.5/5 – A Fun Adventure with Sherlock’s Roguish Brother.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
Playing Basketball & writing comics… Two things Kareen Abdul-Jabbar is pretty darn good at. Everyone knows about the basketball thing. Doing comics is new and I was pleasantly surprised by Abdul-Jabbar’s foray into comics, co-writing with Raymond Obstfeld. I shouldn’t have been surprised, though. Doing a little digging (thanks, Internet!) I discovered that Abdul-Jabbar is a columnist for Time magazine and in addition to having co-written Mycroft Holmes as a prose novel with Anna Waterhouse has also co-written (with Obstfeld) What Color Is My World?: The Lost History of African-American Inventors, and (with Anthony Walton) Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII’s Forgotten Heroes. He has also co-written a few autobiographical books and several other books, as well as solo authoring a children’s book series. It seems writing is a passion for the man and he’s pretty good at it. So, it’s nice to see him turning his talents to the world of comics and I’m glad I checked this series out, bringing the character from his book to visual life in this comic.
For people unfamiliar with Holmesian mythology, Mycroft is Sherlock’s older brother. The version of the character here is quite a bit more dashing and action-oriented than the sedentary problem-solver described as “a much larger and stouter man” (than Sherlock) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. But this story is set while the Holmes brothers are younger men, so perhaps Mycroft lets himself go as he gets older… Abdul-Jabbar and Obstfeld establish their version of the character as a “rogue you love to hate” with scenes set in school where Mycroft is agitating classmates and teachers alike, as well as an interaction with a rain-soaked Sherlock where he shows that he definitely has some less than admirable personality characteristics. Even though he comes off as a jerk, it is still fascinating to watch as he moves through the story. The art, by Joshua Cassara, is a good match for the Victorian England setting and does a good job of setting the stage and keeping the story moving. He’s new to me, but an artist I’ll be keeping an eye out for.
It will be easy for some people to dismiss this book as “just something written by that basketball guy” or thinking this is merely meant to capitalize on Abdul-Jabbar’s name and fame. These are both wrong assumptions, because Abdul-Jabbar and Obstfeld have some definite writing chops on display here. Coupled with some great art by Joshua Cassara and a story that balances character-building, conflict setup, action, and humor and you have a comic that should not be missed. I’m certainly glad I gave it a try and it has earned a place on my pull list. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story!
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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