The Mummy: Palimpsest #1 (Titan Comics)

An ancient sect searches for a sacrifice in this new comic inspired by the Hammer Studios horror classic.

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32 pgs., color; $3.99

(W: Peter Milligan; A: Ronilson Freire)

When it comes to horror movies, if you prefer them sexy and in living color, then Hammer Studios is the champion, bar none. So it’s great news to fans of the latter type of horror that Hammer is collaborating with Titan Comics on a new line of horror comics based on classic Hammer properties. First up in this new line is The Mummy: Palimpsest, written by Peter Milligan (Hellblazer, Shade the Changing Man) with art by Ronilson Freire (The Green Hornet).

Here’s the setup: Members of the Sect of Anubis have prolonged their life spans for 2000 years through human sacrifice. To be specific, every 30 years they have to kidnap a woman and force her to house the spirit of the priestess Nebetah, then kill her and drink her blood. Isn’t that charming? And it’s not like these guys are using their extended lives to cure cancer, either—in the first issue we see two of the Anubis boys discussing a shooting trip to Scotland (“Slaughtering a few wild beasts might lift your damned gloom a little”), giving you yet one more reason to hate them.

mummy1coverFinding the right sacrificial victim isn’t as easy as it seems. She has to have the Mark of Kharis, a dark triangular marking on her neck, in order for the process to work, and there’s no telling who has it until you look. To this end, the Sect has developed a worldwide organized of scouts, and one of them discovers an eligible victim, Angelina Kostenko, among a group of refugees who have been smuggled into Belgium in the back of a truck.

Angela is brought before the Sect of Anubis, and although she’s far from a compliant victim, they do hold most of the cards, not to mention drugs and guns and the knowledge that no one will be checking up on her. But they do have to worry about the Pyramid Society, their sworn enemies, about whom we will presumably learn more in later issues. That’s how it usually goes with first issues, and how it works here—this issue establishes the world of the story, but nearly everything is still up for grabs. This issue ends with a major cliffhanger, and the setup has been good enough that I’m eager to see what happens in issue #2.

If you love Hammer horror films, The Mummy: Palimpsest should be right up your alley. It’s sexy as hell, doesn’t stint on the gore, and adds a little social relevance to the mix (we’re not savages, you know). Ronilson Freire’s art is detailed and naturalistic, with some impressive big frames, and Ming Seng’s coloring is expressive and appropriately lurid. There’s one extra in this issue: a discussion of Hammer Film’s 1959 film The Mummy and how it came to be.

The Mummy: Palimpsest is published by Titan Comics. You can see a preview of the art here. | Sarah Boslaugh

 

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