Story: Chris Roberson
Art: Christopher Mitten
Colors: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Clem Robbins
What They Say:
Shrouded by shadow and touched by fire, Panya must come face-to-face with the dark in order to reveal the light. In this compelling conclusion to Panya: The Mummy’s Curse, will Panya finally be able to make sense of all that has gone before and all that has yet to come?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The world in which Mike Mignola has worked for the past few decades has led to a lot of great storytelling and creators working within it. It’s been enjoyable reconnecting with it in the last few years and this new series brings us more with Chris Roberson again handling the writing duties here. Roberson gets to play in a familiar world but shape it in a way that works for this particular universe and that’s got a lot of appeal, especially since it is a much smaller world overall. Christopher Mitten is on board for the artwork and they capture the look and feel of this period really well, especially with some of the openness that we get in this first issue. I really like the character designs and Madsen’s color work on it helps to highlight the raw and rough aspects of the artwork. I’m curious as to how well the hieroglyphics are in the background but I’m not doing any translating work nor would I hold any artist too much to that in general, though my curiosity is certainly there.
The finale of the series is one that plays out about as I expect, though since I’m unfamiliar with how Panya has operated in most recent works there’s a bit of a gap in my knowledge there. The finale is one that plays more to feelings and mood than anything more direct as we see how she’s been called and drawn to this place, having dealt with some significant issues and views of the beings and beasts that populate the larger world. It’s interesting to watch her finally be directed to where the entombed woman is that has called her here and made it clear that Panya has both a dark fire inside of her but also the spark of brightness that could go the other way completely. While she doesn’t get true answers here, she’s been charged with trying to stop the collapse that the entombed woman has seen before, helping Panya become someone that can change things for the better in the grander scale.
Her journey after the fact takes her back to some familiar places but she’s able to get only so far before collapsing near some of those that she saved. Her end is one that comes naturally from exhaustion at this point but while she seems dead, she’s just in a very different state. Watching her going through a wrapping process but not true mummification works well, bringing us to her awakening and how she’s spent her years since as she relates it to her listener. It’s got that kind of grand scale to it but it’s also made very personal because she talks about her chance at a second life and being able to finally realize it. It does make me want to try and find more of her stories since the awakening period but I also like that in its own way it feels complete enough here by going through her journey to this point. It’s a fascinating first chapter in that journey that feels grand in a very minimalist kind of way thanks to the artwork as well as the time and place in which most of it took place.
Panya is definitely the kind of property that even within the larger Mignola-verse of titles is one that’s pretty niche. I like a lot of what it does and it was an interesting exploration of a time and place in a way we don’t usually get. It was just so laid back and mellow even while playing with large concepts for Panya that it drew me in. I absolutely loved the artwork and the bold colors early on and the smaller explorations we get as it progressed. It’ll be a title that will stick with me for some time and one that I’ll go back to in order to connect and understand more of it with a full series re-read in trade down the line.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 20th, 2023