Hello, my friends. There’s an ever-growing chill in the air as we slowly, but surely lumber towards the various Fall Festivities that’re in store for us. Meanwhile, we’ve got a certain story that requires us to fully unwrap along the way. With all of that in mind, I welcome you back to 2021’s special Halloween theme known as…
Last time, we began to delve into a tale about a group of scientists who’ve created a revolutionary kind of medical wrappings known as Nano-Bandages. Not only does it heal a person’s badly-damaged skin and bone structure, but it returns them to their original form. However, their success is being undermined as the lead scientist named Derek Totenkopf has grown jealous towards his two main assistants. In particular, a young lady named Jenna has accepted Shawn’s marriage proposal. While the two are away, Derek accidentally kills a rabbit who’s already wrapped up within the Nano-Bandages. To his surprise, the bunny came back to life. As such, he calls his assistants over to show off his discovery, explaining that their invention is able to work on a molecular level and reanimate deceased beings. When Totenkopf wants to run more tests, Shawn and Jenna decide that they need to inform their pharmaceutical company’s administrative board. However, Derek is against that notion, believing that the head executives will shut their project down. Not only that, but he chastises his two assistants for not being as committed to their work as he was before he drunkenly accuses them for being more pre-occupied with their sexual endeavors. A brief fight breaks out before Totenkopf accidentally kills Shawn and Jenna with a champagne bottle. From there, he resumes his experiment as he wraps Jenna’s body within the Nano-Bandages. She ultimately comes back to life and attacks Derek for what he did to her before leaving him for dead within the flames of their wreaked lab. However, Totenkopf managed to be saved by the company’s security guards before he ultimately joins forces with a devious dealer named Jack Harkin, in order to help the black marketer deal with his son’s cancer via his Nano-Bandages. Not only that, but they also have several corpses covered within said wrappings waiting in the wings for whatever scheme they may have in store. With that recap out of the way, let’s finally get into our featured issue.
Released in 2005, this comic sees writer Justin Gray and artist Eliseu Gouveia a.k.a. “Zeu” putting the completed capstone upon this two-part tale for the Chicago-based Moonstone Books. So, what kind of perilous struggles will our undead heroine find herself in? Let’s unearth this conclusive chapter and find out.
Issue 2 opens outside of Club Anubis as Jenna narrates about being “emotionless”, especially since she now only exists “to kill”. As she also recaps the events of the previous issue, she takes care of two goons who’re standing guard outside of the establishment, catching them off guard by wrapping her Nano-Bandages around their heads. Shortly afterwards, she makes her presence known to both Derek and Jack as she smashes the two fiends through the front door, having recently absorbed their life essences as well. From there, she takes on Harkin’s henchmen as she uses her Nano-Bandages to throw several knives at the goons, taking out the majority of them before kissing the last fiend and taking energetic possession of his life essence. She then tells Totenkopf that the lone “remarkable things about being dead is the lack of caring”, promising to kill him only on “general principal”.
Derek then summons his mummy army into action as Jenna does her best to fend them off. Unfortunately, she gets pinned down as she pulls the facial wrappings off of one of the undead fiends. To her shock, she discovers that her deceased boyfriend Shawn is among Derek’s reanimated corpses. Totenkopf explains that he had Shawn lobotomized before bringing him back to life, even going so far as to fill the hole in his former assistant’s head with insulation foam, thus preventing him from regaining the necessary brain tissue needed for reacquiring his self-consciousness. Jenna manages to break free before throwing her former boyfriend into the opposing mummies. She then tries to attack Derek, but he easily smacks her away as she slams into a wall. With the mummy armada closing in, Jenna uses her Nano-Bandages to grab onto an adjacent Anubis statue and evade the undead wrath.
Shortly after she reaches the general roof area, Jack tells her to look around as she notices several explosives scattered all around her. From there, Harkin activates a trigger as he, Derek and their mummy armada head out before the Anubis Club blows up. Twenty minutes later, the police have the blown-up area surrounded as Monty arrives on the scene. He tries to tell Detective Sims that a mummy was involved with the building’s destruction, but the official doesn’t respect him as a reporter and says that a gas leak lead to the explosion. From there, Monty makes a snide comment about the detective’s wife before Sims orders him to leave. Later, Monty is climbing an adjacent fire escape as he narrates how his experience with burnt buildings has let him know that Club Anubis wasn’t destroyed by a simple gas leak, since the building was condemned six months ago. As such, the local power company would’ve shut everything within the club off. After reaching the blown-out hole within the side wall, he finds Jenna’s burnt body being held in tact by her Nano-Bandages. From there, he takes several pictures of her with heated excitement as he hopes to use this discovery in order to advance his reporting career. However, he’s unware of the Nano-Bandages that’re swarming around him as they restrain him. From there, Jenna wakes up and grabs his face, being forced to absorb his life essence in order to save her own life. As she kills Monty, she narrates how in years past, she kept her emotions hidden enough from the world and tried her to best to avoid “shallow relationships”. With her past life (which included Shawn and her previous job) destroyed, she fears that killing an innocent man in order to resume her revenge quest had potentially helped her stray away from her humanity.
Sometime later, Jenna is sitting in a church pew before she’s met upon by a priest. She tells him that she would’ve been marrying Shawn here next month before exclaiming that she’s in need of “redemption” and some proof that she’s “still alive”. After she assures him that her love for Shawn never fell apart and that he was murdered, the priest tries to help her with her pain. However, he ends up touching her undead hand. Thankfully, she pulls away as she says that her bandages need to feed on living tissue in order for her to stay alive. However, she doesn’t know if she’s nothing more than a reanimated corpse, since she needs to “kill people to survive”. As the priest struggles to know what to tell her, she tells him to “pray for what’s left” of her soul before she takes her leave. Later, Jenna uses her Nano-Bandages to scale up the side of a building as she reaches our foe’s main hideout.
Meanwhile, Derek has begun his attempt to save the life of Jack’s son with his own Nano-Bandages. While Totenkopf assures him that his kin’s immune system will be the first thing that’ll be restored, it still pains Harkin to see his boy in a near-death state. Suddenly, his kid ends up going into cardiac arrest as Jack tells Derek to do something. However, Totenkopf simply says that his son is “being reborn”. Harkin gets furious with him and reminds him that he wants his boy to be healed and not come back as a mummy. After Derek throws him across the room, Jack takes out his gun and prepares to shoot him. However, Totenkopf uses his Nano-Bandages to strangle him and says that his son will be joining “the future of the human race”. Suddenly, Jenna smashes through the window and confronts her former lab mate. With Jack’s life essence completely absorbed, Derek sends in his mummy armada. Fortunately, she uses her Nano-Bandages to trip up and take out the undead army. She then manages to get Jack’s gun and attempts to shoot at Derek.
Instead, she hits a gas tank as the whole floor proceeds to blow up, launching them out of the building. They proceed to trade hits with each other as Jenna manages to wrap her Nano-Bandage around a flag pole before they swing back into the building. From there, she finally finishes the fiend off by kicking him into the inferno. With his final moments, Derek tells her that she couldn’t “possibly have anything to live for” and that she’s “the first” of her kind. While Jenna says that she’s “the last”, he proceeds to burn to death while telling her no one loves her, since she’s a monster. However, she says that someone did love her, while the same can no longer be said about him. Sometime later, she arrives at the oceanside home that she would’ve shared with Shawn. As she heads inside, she narrates about how without her original emotions, she sees the world filled with “suffering, pain and an endless struggle to extend the few moments of joy” people have. She also says that the world tries to make you break and suffer, yet you’ve be absolutely happy once you’re in heaven. However, she knows that her Nano-Bandages will never let he find absolute peace. As she puts on a comforting sweater and begins to paint the inside of her home, the story ends with her narrating how she’s “free to live”. Not only that, but she intends on mitigating her own suffering and embracing her fate. Instead of designating herself as “Death’s Messenger”, she simply exist for now and decide what she’ll do with her own existence.
Overall, this was a mainly good wrap-up to a two-part, supernatural revenge tale. Granted, this second part is more action-driven at the cost of further development with either the narrative or its main characters. After all, there are a few moments of Jenna questioning her own sense of humanity, especially since she has to steal other people’s life essences in order to stay alive. Maybe if the comic spent some time in showing her struggling with said notion before she ultimately comes to the conclusion we get here, then it would’ve made her more of a fully-formed protagonist, ready to fully embrace the new life that awaits her. After all, the reporter Monty only has a pair of scenes between these two issues and he’s unceremoniously taken out by Jenna, just so she can restore herself following the explosion at Club Anubis. As such, he could’ve been completely removed from the story in order for her self-struggle to become more fleshed out. As for Derek, not much else is done with him aside from his experiment upon Jack’s cancer-ridden son. After all, the only thing that comes out of it is their alliance falling apart before Jenna arrives to take him out permanently. I would’ve also liked to have know what kind of grand scheme Totenkopf would carry out, either for monetary gain, scientific acknowledgement or even an attempt at establishing some kind of foothold over something vital. With that being said, the two action scenes within this comic are thrilling enough. The fact that there’s no dialogue or descriptive captions during said sequences is actually refreshing in its own right, giving those moments something of a silent film feel and allowing the action to speak for itself. Not to mention, the black-and-white artwork continues to present themselves in a professionally solid manner. Eliseu Gouveia managed to avoid some semi-wonkiness that somewhat held the previous issue back, since there was no sign of either shaky perspective or questionable images that makes it tricky to understand narratively at first glance. As a result, it helps the pacing flow at a good click and allows this tale to end on a positive note. In the end, this two-issue tale is an easy read for both comic book and horror fans, just as long as the reading audience for this tale is towards the adult side, due to mild nudity and a few choice curse words. Despite that, it’s still worth unearthing if you’re interested in checking this out.
Next Time: Now that Jenna’s supernatural revenge quest is completely wrapped up, it’s time to delve into our second feature for this year. For this one, we’ll be heading out to the Sooner State to check out a three-part tale involving their own horror host. Stay tuned as IDW continues to make their terrifying presence known on this site once again with a particular figure known as “Aleister Arcane”.
Vengeance Of The Mummy (created by Justin Gray) is owned by Moonstone Books.