Mummy, The: Palimpsest #2
Released by: Titan Comics
Released on: December 21st, 2016.
Written by: Peter Milligan
Illustrated by: Ronilson Freire
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Previously: “For the past 140 years, the Sect of Anubis discovered, stole, and have since performed an ancient Egyptian blood ritual called ‘PALIMPSEST’ which sees a human sacrifice chosen to host the imprisoned spirit of an ancient Egyptian High Priestess called Nebetah. The human host - always identified by a pyramid-shaped ‘Mark of Kharis’ birthmark that brands her as ‘the chosen one’ - is then sacrificed and her blood drunk so that the Sect can prolong their lives for a further 33 years. This year the Sect’s chosen vessel is Angel Kostenko, an illegally trafficked young woman from the Ukraine. Drugged and initiated, Angel had already begun the process of transformation, wherein the soul of Nebetah, through the use of arcane magic and drugs, possesses her body and mind. However, before the blood sacrifice could be completed, a rival faction called the Pyramid Club, sworn to destroy the evil of the Sect of Anubis, raided the Sect’s London-based temple and in the confusion Angel was able to escape. Now she is lost and alone in the streets of London while members of both the Sect of Anubis and the Pyramid Club search for her. But they are not the only ones. The great demon dog, Ammit, guardian of the Land of the Dead, has travelled to the earthly plane to claim a soul and fill the void left by Nebetah’s departure…”
That’s a pretty big ‘previously’ paragraph but it is what it is – and hey, now you’ll have an idea of what exactly is going on in this second issue of Titan Comics’ new Hammer Films line of horror comics (expext great things), right?
When the second issue kicks off, the Sect Of Anubis is in prime form, trying to communicate with Priestess Nebetah – she should have passed through the gate but ‘the Gods are not pleased.’ In order to save her soul, she’ll have to re-enter the mortal world by ‘Holy Palimpsest.’ Anubis tells her that a living woman will give up her body for her – she is, we’re told, eager to please.
While this is going on, London is under attack by a monster. Angelina escapes the fray but Mather, Clarence and the others know what’s happening. They know that Inna is only partly possessed and that they’ll need to do better if she is to serve their needs. Finlay and the rest of their agents are giving chase, but things get weird when, as she’s hiding out, she’s approached by Kharis, High Priest to the Pharaoh and her one time brother and lover! He’s not out to help her, however, he’s out to save his own soul through Palimpsest! She wakes up, she was passed out in an alleyway, but her nose… blood trickles from it, mirroring the mummification process she just saw in her dream.
Nearby at a museum in London, a man named Duncan and a man named Bunbury debate the results of the raid that was conducted on the Sect Of Anubis. Two mean died – was it worth it? Their argument is interrupted when they see Angelina enter the Egyptian Exhibit in the museum proper. Duncan coaxes her to the back rooms where The Pyramid Club has been headquartered since 1883. These old men may be just that – old men – but they’re familiar enough with the Sect and its ways that they just might be able to help her. After all… enough of Nebetah’s soul has entered her that she just might be worth dealing with.
As with the first issue, there’s a lot going on here – Milligan isn’t going for subtle so much as he’s going for over the top. Not only do we get a secret cult, Egyptian gods and a society of monster hunters, but we get a monster as well, running amuck on the streets of London. As this is only the second issue it stands to reason that the storylines will turn into something a bit more refined as we go – there’s plenty of reason to have all the faith in the world in Milligan’s writing – but for now it’s enjoyably chaotic and it does leave us wondering where it’s all going to go.
As to the artwork from Ronilson Freire, it suits the story well. There’s good detail here and he really shows a knack for illustrating the Egyptian architecture and costumes that are an important part of certain aspects of the story.
In the back pages we get some text about Hammer’s second Mummy film, The Curse Of The Mummy’s Tomb, courtesy of Hammer Films historian Marcus Hearn complete with some cool behind the scenes photographs. A cover gallery showing off all four cover options for this issue is also included. As to the covers, you’ve gotta love that curvalicious piece by none other than Tom Mandrake up top, right? What a fantastic illustration. Hubba hubba! All in all, a solid second issue.