N'Kantu, the Living Mummy
Cover of Supernatural Thrillers #5,
art by Rich Buckler
|First appearance||Supernatural Thrillers #5
|Created by||Steve Gerber (writer)
Rich Buckler (artist)
|Team affiliations||S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Paranormal Containment Unit
Legion of Monsters
|Notable aliases||The Mummy
Captain Ace Bandages
|Abilities||Superhuman strength and durability
Supernatural Thrillers #5 (Aug. 1973) introduced the character in a standalone story set in Cairo, Egypt, "The Living Mummy". N'Kantu the Living Mummy returned two issues later in "The Return of the Living Mummy" by the same team, who brought the character to New York City. With the cover logo reading "Supernatural Thrillers featuring The Living Mummy", the series ran from #7 to the final issue, #15 (June 1974 - Oct. 1975). With issue #8, the creative team became writer Tony Isabella and artist Val Mayerik, occasionally credited as co-plotter. John Warner wrote or co-wrote the final two issues, with Tom Sutton drawing the finale. Len Wein scripted #10 from an Isabella-Mayerik plot.
Fictional character biography
Born 3,000 years ago, N'Kantu is the son of T'Chombi, a chief of a Northern African tribe called the Swarili, of the nation of Swarilis. At the age of 21, N'Kantu must undergo the Test of the Lion, proving himself to be worthy of being called a warrior. Succeeding in this trial also means that someday N'Kantu would be worthy to succeed his father as king. Months later, his father dies in his sleep, and N'Kantu becomes the chieftain of the Swarili tribe.
Returning from a hunt, N'Kantu finds that his village has been ransacked and the entire tribe of Swarili rounded up by Egyptians as slaves. N'Kantu fights to rescue his people, but is overwhelmed and captured by the Egyptian soldiers.
N'Kantu and the Swarili are then taken to Egypt, and put to work building monuments to the current Pharaoh, Aram-Set. Recognized as the strongest, and most dangerous of the Swarili, N'Kantu is isolated and forced to work the hardest in an attempt to break his spirit. But at night he and the other Swarili people plot a rebellion, though unbeknownst to them their plotting is being reported to Aram-Set and his chief priest, Nephrus. At the completion of the current monument project, the Egyptians take their slaves into its catacombs in preparation for a mass execution. But N'Kantu signals for the revolt and the Swarili slaughter their would-be executioners.
N'Kantu slays Aram-Set with his spear and then turns to Nephrus, but the evil priest had prepared, and he sprays N'Kantu in the face with a mysterious paralyzing liquid. N'Kantu is then strapped and bound to a special altar, his body wrapped in papyrus, and his blood is drained and replaced with an unknown alchemical preservative. N'Kantu, who remains conscious through the entire ordeal, is then placed inside a stone sarcophagus.
In modern times, the paralyzing fluid finally wears off and N'Kantu escapes from his tomb. Deranged from being paralyzed in a dark tomb for several millennia, he digs himself free and goes on a rampage in Cairo, Egypt. He later recovers from his insanity and discovers Doctor Alexi Skarab, one of Nephrus' surviving descendants. N'Kantu was electrocuted into unconsciousness. His lifeless body is shipped to a New York City museum, where he is revived. He is teleported to the dimension of the Elementals, who ordered him to find the ruby scarab. While searching, he battled Professor Abdol the Living Pharaoh. N'Kantu then battled the Elementals, and vanquished them with the aid of the Scarab he had found. During later travels N'Kantu befriends Ulysses Bloodstone.[volume & issue needed] Some time after that N'Kantu is kidnapped by the Grandmaster for the Contest of Champions, but the Grandmaster doesn't consider him worthy enough to be a combatant and so N'Kantu returns to Earth.[volume & issue needed]
N'Kantu later teams up with the Thing and his girlfriend Alicia Masters against General Hassan, another descendant of Nephrus, preventing him from obtaining the Spirit Gem. After this, he returns to the desert where he began searching for the Bloodgem. However, when Captain America and his "partner" Diamondback are after the gem as well, they convince N'Kantu to hand over the fragments he had found.
Later, N'Kantu is approached to join the Shock Troop organization. They help free Quasar from the Darkforce entity known as Quagmire, and disband afterward.[volume & issue needed] Later he gets into a fight with the evil Rakses and has to team up with Elsa Bloodstone, the daughter of his old ally.[volume & issue needed] After defeating this villain, N'Kantu spends some time guarding the mystic Orb of Ra.[volume & issue needed] During this time, N'Kantu is approached by Nick Fury and is convinced to join his group of Howling Commandos, and they fight against the powerful Merlin in Area 13.[volume & issue needed]
Soon afterward, N'Kantu was seen as one of the heroes against the Super-hero Registration Act which was forged during the Civil War event; it is later explained that N'Kantu began to feel his service in the Howling Commandos was slavery, prompting his rebellion. He was apprehended and transported to an extra-dimensional prison called "Fantasy Island" which is located in the Negative Zone. He was transported to his cell alongside Coldblood, Speedball, and Typeface. During this time, N'Kantu informs the three that he is not alive, unnerving them in the process. When Iron Man and Spider-Man visit N'Kantu he is in his prison cell, secured to a slab and surrounded by flames; Iron Man stated that some detainees require special security measures. He was later released when Hulkling impersonated Hank Pym and used his voice to unlock all the cells of imprisoned heroes. N'Kantu then takes part in the end fight between the Pro-Registration forces and the Anti-Registration forces.
In the aftermath of the Civil War storyline, N'Kantu returns to Egypt and recovers the Orb of Ra. He then summoned the spirit of Nephrus hoping to get him to restore him to full life or to let him die. Nephrus was unable to do that, but it did attract Anubis when Nephrus' spirit was drawn from his realm. N'Kantu agreed to become Anubis' agent to kill people and send their souls to him in exchange for N'Kantu moving on to the afterlife.
N'Kantu and Werewolf by Night try to arrest Dimensional Man, assisted by Morbius, the Living Vampire and Manphibian. Elsa Bloodstone teleports to Monster Metropolis with a dead monster that had been corrupted by an evil force.
When Red Hulk encountered the Legion of Monsters, Doctor Strange places an enchantment on N'Kantu's flesh in order to restrain what was haunting Red Hulk. N'Kantu helped Red Hulk into Monster Metropolis where it was discovered that the ghost that was haunting Red Hulk was Doc Samson's bad side.
Powers and abilities
As a result of the transfusion of an unknown embalming fluid by the Egyptian high priest Nephrus, N'Kantu has superhuman strength and durability. He is highly resistant to many forms of attack. Although his skin is almost rock-hard in consistency, his wrappings are extremely vulnerable to fire. His blood has been replaced with an alchemical preservative that has allowed him to exist for over three thousand years. He also has no need for food, water, oxygen, or sleep.
N'Kantu is able to sense mystical energy and the use of magic. He can also sense and recognize Nephrus' descendants. His body no longer produces saliva, which makes speaking difficult and painful for him. He is nevertheless proficient in ancient Swarili, Egyptian and English. He is extremely sensitive to any dehydrative process which interferes with the preservative fluid in his veins.
He has the combat skills of the Swarili warrior class. Some of these abilities are enhanced by his mummified condition, while others are diminished.
In other media
- N'Kantu the Living Mummy appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "This Man-Thing, This Monster." He is shown to be the leader of an army of mummies that work for Dracula. He carries Werewolf by Night's girlfriend Ellen away.
- N'Kantu the Living Mummy appears in the Halloween episodes of Ultimate Spider-Man titled "Blade" and "The Howling Commandos" voiced by Oded Fehr in an Egyptian accent. He is seen as a member of Nick Fury's Howling Commandos and is also depicted to have the ability to use his bandages to constrict anything. N'Kantu and the rest of the Howling Commandos help Spider-Man and Blade when it comes to preventing Dracula from activating Tekamentep's Ankh (which N'Kantu wielded back when he was still a pharaoh) which would enable Dracula to have no vampire weaknesses. After Dracula was repelled, N'Kantu took Tekamentep's Anhk for himself which he uses to restore his body and teleports to Manhattan in giant size to deal with Nick Fury (who N'Kantu claimed to have the Howling Commandos as part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s "collection of freaks") where N'Kantu engages the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. With help from a giant-sized Man-Thing, Spider-Man uses Blade's sword to cut Tekamentep's Anhk from around N'Kantu' neck which regresses N'Kantu back to his mummy form.
- N'Kantu the Living Mummy appears in the Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode "Hulking Commandos", voiced again by Oded Fehr.
- N'Kantu the Living Mummy appears in Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds in Jill Valentine's ending. He attacks her and Blade along with other Marvel monsters.
- Nephrus at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- origin recounted in Supernatural Thrillers #5
- Supernatural Thrillers #5
- Supernatural Thrillers #7
- Supernatural Thrillers #8
- Supernatural Thrillers #9
- Supernatural Thrillers #12-15
- Marvel Two-in-One #95
- Captain America #361
- Rakses at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe
- Civil War Battle Damage Report
- Civil War: Front Lines #5
- Amazing Spider-Man #575
- Civil War #6
- Civil War #7
- Legion of Monsters: Satana #1
- Punisher Vol. 7 #11
- Deadpool Team-Up #894
- Legion of Monsters Vol. 2 #1
- Hulk Vol 2 #52
- Morbius, the Living Vampire Vol. 2 #8
- N'Kantu the Living Mummy at Marvel.com
- Living Mummy at the Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe