Writer and Artist: Paul Louise-Julie/ Midas Monkee
I’m the resident fan of all things Egyptian around here, so I about threw elbows to get this assignment — reviewing a new comic by a Black creator set in a mythical Egypt. Paul Louise-Julie is the creator, writer, and artist and The Pack is his first comic. He has planned a full 5-issue arc and an even more ambitious long-term plan to do similar arcs for several other North African civilizations. Judging from this one, each of them could be well worth the download.
For starters, the art in this comic is AMAZING. I mean absolutely breathtaking.
Every thing, from small frames to large-scale stills, are done in a unique painterly style that makes this comic stand out. The ideal of comics is that they are both visual and verbal and The Pack shows you what happens when both of those things work in perfect harmony. The author even goes to the extent of using Egyptian hieroglyphics in some speech bubbles to signify that the speaker is using a different language. It is a nice touch, adding variety and authenticity to the page. It really does feel like an Ancient Egyptian tale, pulled right off the side of a temple wall.
Beyond the visuals, the story is very straightforward. Two Nubian brothers, Khenti and Nekhet, are slave assassins in the employ of Pharaoh Akhenon, the pharaoh of the Northern kingdom. They are on assignment to kill Pharaoh Seti of the Southern kingdom, but really all Nekhet wants to do is escape back to Nubia, they are slaves after all.
The assassination of Seti goes off without a hitch, in a glorious, flowing style involving the sort of fantastic fountains and gardens for which Ancient Egypt is famous. But on the way home, something happens. The brothers are attacked by something large and ancient in the swamps and Khenti is changed. It isn’t clear at first exactly what happens. The brothers make their way back to Luxor. They are feasted as heroes, but the gilded cage continues to chafe Nekhet. So much so, that he attacks and kills Akhenon in his own tub.
Now wanted fugitives, the two brothers attempt to escape the city and meet up. But Khenti is captured and jailed. That’s when the secret of what he’s become is revealed:
What follows is a long series of fights as Khenti the werewolf makes his way out of prison and off to meet his brother. What do they get up to? Only Issue #2 will say.
I enjoyed this comic overall. The plot is a little simplistic — two brothers getting revenge on the Pharoah that killed their father — but the added layer of the majesty of Ancient Egypt and the creepiness of the werewolf give it a great vibe and a pretty good twist. If you’re looking for a beautiful comic to add to your digital reading list, this could fit your bill. Paul Louise-Julie’s goal is to make a huge, spanning mythology for Africa much the same way that Tolkien did for England. That’s ambitious stuff. I don’t know how it will all turn out but, if this is his first step, he is definitely a creative force to be reckoned with.