THE MUMMY: PALIMPSEST #2

PrintE-mail Written by James Evans

While Tom Cruise is leading a new Universal screen version of The Mummy for 2017, Hammer have dusted off their version of the tale and brought it to comic books, partnering with Titan Comics.  The first issue introduced us to Angelina, a Ukrainian woman abandoned by her boyfriend to people smugglers. 

After escaping from them, Angelina found herself singled out by the sinister Sect of Anubis, who needed her to host the resurrection of the imprisoned spirit of the priestess Nebetah.  If they are not successful, the blood drinking ritual needed to prolong their unnaturally long lives will not happen and death awaits them all.  The first issue ended with Angelina succumbing to possession by Nebetah and on the run from the Sect as well as their enemies, the Pyramid Club.

If that’s not enough, Ammit, the great demon dog of the Land of the Dead, has travelled to Earth to find a soul to replace the departed Nebetah.  As the confused but growing powerful Angelina roams the streets of London, she is hunted by them all.  In desperation she turns to Duncan in the Pyramid Club, who believes there’s still time to stop the process and save Angelina. 

Building on the set-up from last issue, writer Peter Milligan makes it more explicit this time around that Angelina is the pawn of old men.  Literally in the case of the Sect, whose members have lived for over a hundred years by drinking the blood of an unfortunate young woman every 30 or so years.  Even in the case of the potential heroes the Pyramid Club, that organisation is made up of crusty old men who would just as soon kill Angelina themselves to do 'good'.

Flashback memories Angelina suffers show her that Nebetah herself had been brutally betrayed by her one-time lover Kharis.  Thousands of years apart, these two women have both found themselves abused and used by powerful, amoral men.  It gives the story a pleasingly updated perspective and cleverly helps to invest the reader in Angelina’s story, even though we know little about her. 

Milligan pays tribute to the history of Hammer (from names to the male characters practically stepping out of one of their 1960s films) and folds in references to smart phones and other things that modernise the story.  The art and colour (from Ronilson Friere, Ming Sen and Dijjo Lima) might not be spectacular but it does the job more than satisfactorily.  Overall, it’s shaping up nicely and comes recommended.

As with last issue, there’s a nice article on Hammer mummy film series by esteemed studio historian Marcus Hearn, this time the second film The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb.

THE MUMMY: PALIMPSEST / AUTHOR: PETER MILLIGAN / ARTIST: RONILSON FREIRE / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


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