Hammer Comics — from the same Hammer known for classic and current horror, science fiction, and thriller films — has partnered with Titan Comics to debut the new series The Mummy: Palimpsest. Judging from the inaugural issue that was released on November 1, this looks to be an entertaining project to follow.
Set in the present day, The Mummy: Palimpsest #1 is not the tale of a murderous, revenge-seeking, lumbering undead entity made famous by the old Universal and Hammer classic movies, nor is it in the fast-paced action style of Universal’s 1999 film remake — though there is plenty of action. For this first issue, readers are introduced to a supernatural setting grounded in the here and now, with a feisty heroine.
The comic series begins in London and focuses on the Sect of Anibus, a group of men who have prolonged their lives by way of human sacrifice and the power of enslaved Egyptian high priestess Nebetah, who has been cursed to roam the afterlife for eternity. One night every three decades, the sect members must offer a human vessel to house Nebetah’s spirit so that they may sacrifice that person and drink her blood in an effort to continue their immortality. Members of the Pyramid Club, however, are determined to make sure that this year’s sacrifice does not happen.
In The Mummy: Palimpsest #1 , writer Peter Milligan introduces readers to a rather large cast of characters, some of whom are expendable right away. The first few pages left me a bit confused after my first read, but a second time through them after completing the book made things clearer. The Sect of Anibus is set up as an evil group, and they certainly perform some nasty deeds here, but it is obvious that Milligan plans to slowly unfold more secrets about the sect in coming issues. The same can be said for the seemingly heroic Pyramid Club, which readers learn even less about. I’m intrigued by both camps, though, and look forward to seeing what is in store regarding them.
Angelina Kostenko is the character about whom readers get to learn the most. She is a woman who finds herself suddenly thrust into a horrible predicament, but an even crueler twist of fate sends her down a path that neither she nor readers could have predicted. Angel, as she is nicknamed, is an engaging character and looks to be a strong lead for the series.
The art by Ronilson Freire is striking, with highly detailed panels boasting work that practically jumps off the page. He has a wonderful fluidity to his lines. Smoke, mist, and ethereal yet evil creatures are plentiful, and Freire uses some unique framing devices that impressed me a great deal. Ming Sen’s colors are delightful, with bright yellows and browns sharing time with bold, electric blues and purples. This duo is not content to leave their action in the dark; the color palette brings everything to the forefront. Simon Bowland’s crackerjack lettering fits the artwork perfectly.
The Mummy: Palimpsest #1, a tale of esoteric supernatural horror and mystery, adds a dash of action in and moves along at an exciting pace. It’s an admirable debut for the Hammer Comics and Titan Comics team-up, and it does what a debut issue should: It makes readers curious about the story being introduced and leaves them looking forward to seeing what will happen next.