Titan is fast becoming the comics publisher that is the expert on licensed properties. The latest property the company is showcasing is the venerable British horror film studio Hammer Films. In partnership with Titan, they’re launching the new line with The Mummy #1, written by Peter Milligan with art by Ronilson Freire. The issue, it stumbles a bit in the beginning, winds up being a steady start for the new line, promising a creepy and engaging story in the vein of the classic films of the past that starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
The problems arise in the opening pages of the issue, which jump into things in media res without enough context to give the reader something to latch onto before sloppily jumping ahead in time in a way which only further confuses things. If you know a bit about Egyptian mythology, things work a bit better. If you don’t know anything at all, then all the material about different Gods and arcane rituals will just seem baffling.
However, once The Mummy #1 settles into the story proper, things get much better. We’re introduced to a compelling and interesting protagonist in the immigrant woman Angel, while the establishment of the central conflict between two ancient and opposing cults is well-defined and promise some good old-fashioned intrigue. The horror elements are handled with style and though the idea of mysterious ancient cults operating in contemporary England seems old-fashioned, the approach does feel uniquely reminiscent of Hammer Films.
The biggest strength of the issue is undoubtedly the central protagonist, and her journey is undoubtedly going to be the heart of the series. So Milligan knows that he has to construct a character we’re going to want to follow. With great economy he effectively puts the reader on side with Angel, and it’ll be no problem to follow her story throughout the series.
Freire’s art is similarly reminiscent of old-school horror comics, and that’s not a bad thing. Te issue features a strong command of atmosphere, the result being a odd that’s not overly horrific but is nicely effective, particularly when the Egyptian and supernatural elements come into play.
There’s an old -school, 1970s Horror Comic heyday vibe to the issue. There was time when Marvel and Warren Comics had modest successes with horror comics, and the issue created here would fit right in with those venerable publications. Despite a somewhat murky opening act, the rest of The Mummy #1 moves along nicely, delivering old school thrills and chills in the classic Hammer style. 7/10
The Mummy #1 will be released on Nov. 9, 2016.