N'Kantu the Living Mummy is a fictional supernatural hero in the Marvel Comics universe. He first appeared in Supernatural Thrillers #5 (Aug. 1973), created by Steve Gerber and Rich Buckler.
#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, #18 (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
N'Kantu was born over three thousand years ago, son to T'Chombi, a chief of an Northern African
tribe called the Swarili, of the nation of Swarilis. When he became 21 years old, N'Kantu had to undergo the Test of the Lion, proving himself to be worthy of being called a warrior. Succeeding in this trial also meant that someday N'Kantu would be worthy to succeed his father as king. Months later, his father passed away in his sleep, and N'Kantu became the chieftain of the Swarili tribe.
Returning from a hunt, N'Kantu found that his village had been ransacked and the entire tribe of Swarili rounded up by Egyptians as slaves. N'Kantu fought to rescue his people, but was overwhelmed and captured by the Egyptian soldiers.
N'Kantu and the Swarili were 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 was isolated and forced to work the hardest in an attempt to break his spirit. But at night he and the other Swarili people plotted a rebellion, though unbeknownst to them their plotting was reported to Aram-Set and his chief priest, Nephrus. At the completion of the current monument project, the Egyptians took their slaves into its catacombs in preparation for a mass execution. But N'Kantu signaled for the revolt and the Swarili slaughtered their would-be executioners.
N'Kantu slew Aram-Set with his spear, and then turned to Nephrus, but the evil priest had prepared, and he sprayed N'Kantu in the face with a mysterious paralyzing liquid. N'Kantu was then strapped and bound to a special altar, his body wrapped in papyrus, and his blood was drained and replaced with an unknown alchemical preservative. N'Kantu, who was somehow conscious through the entire ordeal, was then placed inside a stone sarcophagus.
Three thousand years later, now 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
. 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.
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. Later he gets into a fight with the evil Rakses and has to team up with Elsa Bloodstone, the daughter of his old ally. After defeating this villain, N'Kantu spends some time guarding the mystic Orb of Ra. 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.
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. He was apprehended and transported to an extra-dimensional prison, "Fantasy Island", which is located in the Negative Zone
N'Kantu has since been seen in his prison cell, secured to a slab and surrounded by flames. Iron Man, when questioned about this, 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 in Civil War #6.
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.
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 in 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.
While he is capable of speech, his body no longer produces saliva and so N'Kantu can only do so with great difficulty and discomfort due to the dryness of his mouth and throat. He is proficient with ancient Swarili, Egyptian and English.
The Living Mummy possesses an extreme sensitivity to any dehydrative process which interferes with the preservative fluid in his veins. It is unknown whether or not prolonged exposure would result in death, or immobility until his body regenerated more of the fluid.
The Living Mummy has the combat skills of the Swarili warrior class, some of which are enhanced by his mummified condition; others of which are diminished.
- Supernatural Thrillers #5, 7-15
- Marvel Super Heroes: Contest of Champions #1-3
- Marvel Two-In-One #95
- Captain America vol. 1 #361
- Quasar #45-46
- Bloodstone #2-3
- Nick Fury's Howling Commandos #1-6
- Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Horror 2005
- Legion of Monsters: Satana #1 (MustDie/EatSoul)