Supernatural Thrillers #11-15
Issue(s): Supernatural Thrillers #11, Supernatural Thrillers #12, Supernatural Thrillers #13, Supernatural Thrillers #14, Supernatural Thrillers #15
The description of Asp & Olddan's relationship is the biggest hint that they might have been more than just friends and partners in crime, as Kveto and Mark note in the comments. Note the line about "love at first sight" and also the fact that Olddan is "family". But we see that Asp also thought of some previous criminals he worked with as family too.
Once you read that and start looking, you can find other hints, although nothing definitive.
The title of this series is called Supernatural Thrillers, so i guess i shouldn't be too surprised, but with these issues especially the plot becomes something you would more expect Dr. Strange to be dealing with than the Living Mummy. Any sense of this being a horror comic is pretty much gone as the Mummy basically becomes part of a small resistance movement that fights against a takeover by the magical Elementals.
There's no point in going through all the ins and outs of the plot. Suffice it to say that the thieves Richard "Asp" Harper and Miles Olddan (who is referred to as Paul Olddan at least once in issue #13) wind up teaming up with Dr. Skarab and his students Ron and Janice against the Elementals, and the Elemental Zephyr goes rogue and joins them as well. As does the Living Mummy himself, once he gets it through his head that Dr. Skarab is not the ancient Egyptian wizard Nephrus that was responsible for his mummification.
The Elementals themselves are oddly human considering the powers they possess, both in attitude and in the fact that they are as physically vulnerable as regular people.
But Isabella and company do a decent job selling them as a threat, once they put a forcefield around Cairo and publicly threaten to take over the world (note the references to the Hulk and the Avengers; we already knew this series was taking place in the Marvel universe thanks to the Living Pharoah appearance but here's further evidence).
It's also kind of interesting to see the Mummy interacting with the supporting cast.
But the relative strength of the supporting cast - e.g. compare to Brother Voodoo or the Golem's short lived series; here we have the "I was sure he was going to be a villain" Dr. Skarab, the powerful if underdressed Zephyr, and the thief Asp who has a distinct and non-heroic personality - also threatens to drown out the fact that the main character is a Living Mummy. The Mummy doesn't really get to do much in the story; at best he's an equal to the other characters. The Elementals are so powerful that the strength of a Living Mummy isn't all that significant.
In fact, it's Dr. Skarab figuring out how to activate the Ruby Scarab that is the turning point of the arc.
He doesn't quite become a modern Scarlet Scarab (or Blue Beetle, for that matter; the use of the names Dan and Garrett are nods to the Charlton character), but he does use its powers to fight the Elementals...
...and winds up teleporting everyone to a "Dimensional Aleph... the very nexus of all dimensions".
In the Aleph, the powers of the ruby are all around them, and available to anyone.
And that allows all the good guys to join hands and defeat the Elementals.
Of the Elementals, it's said that "their very flesh seems to explode, and their souls blasted. They have, without redemption, perished". But they will actually return.
When it's all over, the Ruby Scarab is said to have been drained of power. But that doesn't stop Asp and Olddan from stealing it, and note that Zephyr has joined their little thieving band.
As for the Mummy, he wonders if the recent events are just small trials leading to a greater purpose for him in the modern world.
In fact, though, the Living Mummy never becomes much more than a footnote of a character. The lettercol in issue #15 says very directly that the series is being cancelled due to "poor sales". It also says that any loose ends will be wrapped up by Len Wein in Hulk, but there really weren't any loose ends that needed addressing, and nothing from this book shows up in Hulk. The Elementals and Asp's band of thieves will appear again in Ms. Marvel, however.
Despite the changing creative teams, the plot remains coherent and it's a fun high stakes adventure story.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place over the course of at least a week. The attack on Cairo is seen by the entire world, and it's said that the Avengers have been mobilized but everyone is afraid to get involved since they don't want to provoke more unrest in the Middle East.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential Marvel Horror vol. 2
Inbound References (1): showDr. Skarab, Hellfire (Elementals), Hydron (Elemental), Janice Carr, Living Mummy, Magnum, Miles Olddan, Richard 'Asp' Harper, Ron McAllister, Zephyr
Despite the chaos, i liked this story. basically a super-villain problem without superheroes to deal with it. i particularly liked the way Cairo broke down into anarchy in wake of the elementals dome.
I wonder how Zepyhr got breast implants in the ancient past? Hers stand at unnatural attention.
I wonder if all the homosexual overtones in the Asp and Olddan's relationship were intentional. I felt bad for Zephyr, givinging up godesshood to become a beard for the Asp.
Posted by: kveto | January 28, 2015 2:53 PM
Tony Isabella has said before that Asp and Olddan were supposed to be comics' first gay couple, but the comics code wouldn't allow it.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 29, 2015 10:40 AM
The use of the Aleph and the way it works seems to be a reference to the Jorge Luis Borge's short story of the same name.
Posted by: Doombot | June 8, 2017 12:02 AM
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