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Legion of Monsters: Satana #1

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Legion of Monsters: Satana #1

Credits

  • Words: Robin Furth & Jonathan Hickman
  • Art: Kalman Andrasofszky & Jonathan Hickman
  • Inks: Kalman Andrasofszky & Jonathan Hickman
  • Colors: Stephane Peru & Jonathan Hickman
  • Story Title: Satana and the Electric Pentacle/Must Die Eat Soul
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 27, 2007

The Devil’s Daughter and the Living Mummy are your hosts for the latest tour of the Marvel Universe’s darker corners…

This is another one-shot in Marvel’s Legion of Monsters series of Specials bringing their 1970s horror characters to a new generation. In the first story Satana, the succubus sister of Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, finds herself trapped in a pentagram by a young woman who wants the brother Satana seduced and sent to Hell returned to the land of the living. Can the Devil’s Daughter rescue her former victim from the clutches of the Scorpion Queen, mother of all Hell’s vermin?

The strength of Robin Furth’s characterization is that she reminds us in no uncertain terms that Satana is not some cutesy teen witch hero but a totally amoral demoness that you just don’t want to mess with. It’s an entertaining enough fable about why you don’t do deals with the Devil but originality is not its strong point. You’ll feel you’ve read this story a thousand times before and you can see the plot twist coming a mile off. Several miles off in fact…

The second story features an old face I have very fond memories of: N’Kantu, the Living Mummy. I’m old enough to have been there back in the 1970s to follow his feature in Supernatural Thrillers. It’s a shame that recent writers have taken the Mummy away from his horror-based origins, stripping the character of everything that inspired his creation and made him so unique and memorable. The Living Mummy belongs in dusty old Egyptian tombs not as a gun-toting member of Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos or locked up in Negative Zone prisons in Civil War: Frontline!

Jonathan Hickman’s Living Mummy tale is the real gem of all the Legion of Monsters one-shots so far. It’s writing that restores the character to his roots while simultaneously redefining his purpose in the Marvel Universe. Wanting his humanity restored, the shambling monster summons the spirit of his old enemy the High Priest Nephrus. But Anubis, the Egyptian god of the dead, has other plans for him…

Without wanting to give too much of the story away, the premise for N’Kantu’s new mission retains the horror elements of the Mummy (in a very 1930s/40s Universal Studios kind of way!) while keeping him vaguely sympathetic as an anti-hero as well. Hickman deserves the chance to develop the full potential of this masterful back to basics setup further.

Hickman’s art is quite, quite stunning. As a stylistic collage of images, history and encyclopedic background notes, it’s storytelling that exploits the comics medium to its best advantage. I can’t praise this one highly enough.

At 28 pages for $2.99, Legion of Monsters: Satana is pretty good value for your money. But, quite frankly, I would have paid twice that just for the Hickman Living Mummy adventure alone. It’s that good.

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