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Mummy, The: Palimpsest #1

    Ian Jane

  • Mummy, The: Palimpsest #1

    Mummy, The: Palimpsest #1
    Released by: Titan Comics
    Released on: November 9th, 2016.
    Written by: Peter Milligan
    Illustrated by: Ronilson Freire
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    This first issue of the first series in Titan Comics' new Hammer Comics line opens in ancient Egypt with a dramatic page where Priestess Nebetah stands in front of a great pyramid pledging her allegiance to Osiris! She has prepared for this - made the right offerings and passed through the eleven gates of Duat - and now she's ready to enter the final portal. The portal opens and Nebetah meets not Osiris but Ammit, the eater of souls. Anubis, the protector of the tomb, scurries her away - we head to a ceremonial chamber where Anubis, Horus drink the blood of life. It's all another step in furthering the Sect Of Anubis' advancement of their great project. Cut to modern day London. Two men, Mather and Clarence, take off their ceremonial Egyptian dress and talk of a trip to Scotland.

    Thirty-three years later Doctor Finlay, Mather and Clarence are joined by some men to dig up the corpse of a woman that they'd hoped would serve as a proper vessel, but this 'Isis' was claimed by a heart attack before they could use her. They intend to bring about Palimpsest but first need to find the Mark Of Kharis. Their network spreads far and wide, with agents in the Middle East searching refugee camps and doctors examining their patients across Europe.

    In Belgium a truckload of young women -refugees we can assume - is unloaded by some human traffickers named Seppe and Mongoose. Among these women is Angelina Kostenko. When Mongoose gets rough with her they fight but just as he puts a gun to her head he notices a familiar mark on her neck. She's delivered to Mather, Clarence and the rest of their cult where she is drugged and forced to partake in an ancient ritual in which she must 'make contact' before the Marriage Of Osiris can take place. She's wrapped in bandages and then laid down on an alter but then she wakes up - was all of this a dream? The wounds all over her body would indicate otherwise and she uses the bandages she finds nearby to wrap her wounds. Meanwhile, the cult members talk of their progress - they don't have a lot of time, however. They know that a man named Duncan and his team from the Pyramid Club is currently planning to free her - but of course, none of this goes as planned…

    Ancient rituals, gory mummifications, human trafficking and a secret society determined to bring about a 'great project?' There's a lot going on in this first issue, Peter Milligan isn't wasting any time and this one is really quick in its pacing. The story doesn't lack in action or intrigue and by the time it is over with, it has done a fine job of setting up some potentially big things to come. This first chapter is a bit light on character development but it stands to reason that it'll come. Angelina is clearly going to play a big part in what happens in the future issues and there's definitely more to Duncan's back story here as well. This one grabs you though, it's an exciting first chapter that makes us want to know where it's all headed.

    Ronilson Freire does a very good job with the artwork. The characters are drawn quite realistically and there is a lot of detail in the backgrounds that helps to make this bizarre world even more interesting than it would be otherwise. He does a great job illustrating the Egyptian settings, rituals and costumes and the layouts do a great job of relaying the action. The colors from Ming Sen are bright and vibrant but not overdone with good use of blacks to build atmosphere and some interesting contrast brought in from some of the brighter hues.

    This first issue also includes a text piece at the back written by Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn about the history of the studio and its contributions to the legacy of the mummy film, describing Hammer's first effort, the 1959 picture The Mummy, as a cornerstone. He traces the film's roots back to the earlier Universal films before then going on to explain what Hammer did to make their film unique. There's also a cover gallery here showing off the five different variant covers available for this inaugural issue.

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