The most recent incarnation of Hammer Studios is collaborating with Titan Comics for a series of titles based on their classic roster of monsters. First up is this new miniseries for The Mummy. The Sect of Anubis need a vessel every 33 years for the spirit of Priestess Nebetah to inhabit. It’s all part of their blood-drinking ritual that gives the members of the sect unnaturally long lives so that they can continue on with their ‘great project’. Pick the wrong woman (the vessel must always be a woman) and the best you can hope for is she just dies; the worst is they all die in the ‘foulest of manners’.
As the story opens, the most recent candidate has met her demise and is being buried. Across Europe, a young Ukrainian woman called Angelina has discovered her boyfriend wasn’t entirely honest with his promises of a new life for her. Abandoned to people smugglers and a future of forced prostitution, Angelina doesn’t intend to go quietly. That is until the Mark of Kharis is discovered on her, making Angelina a viable candidate for the ritual and soon enough she’s in the hands of the sect.
Angelina survives the first stage and now finds herself living in a nightmare she can’t wake up from, sharing her body with the powerful spirit of Nebetah. The sect has their enemies too, and The Pyramid Club are determined to interrupt the ceremony before it can go any further.
Writer Peter Milligan knows this could be a very familiar story and instead focusses on bringing in other elements that suggest a fresh slant. References to immigration, people-trafficking and patriarchal oppression are peppered throughout along with a strong female lead in Angelina. The secret society conspiracy angle might be played out these days, but pitting Angelina against this literal old boys club is an intriguing idea.
It’s a vivid tale with strong art and colour (from Ronilson Friere and Ming Sen, respectively) and is a good start to what will hopefully be a successful new venture for Hammer. A nice plus point is the article at the back of this issue about the original Hammer classic. It reminds us just a little of the House of Hammer magazine from the ‘70s, which is no bad thing.
THE MUMMY: PALIMPSEST #1 / WRITER: PETER MILLIGAN / ARTIST: RONILSON FRIERE / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW