With the first issue published back in 2014, it has taken writer Matt Gibbs and artist Sara Dunkerton five years to get to the fifth and final issue of their mousey Indiana Jones tale, MULP: Sceptre of the Sun, but the wait has been worth it.
Our group of intrepid explorers have searched the Pyramids of Egypt and the Machu Picchu citadel in Peru for clues to the fabled Sceptre Of The Sun whilst being pursued by the conniving Mademoiselle Moreau and her sidekick Genevieve who are attempting to find the Sceptre, and its presumed associated treasure, for their employer Mr Crakewell. Their ongoing journey takes them to a hitherto unknown temperate valley in Antarctica where, having survived an attack by a giant feline, both groups of explorers are captured by a tribe of mice who prepare them for sacrifice at the alter of their giant bird god. Issue 5 takes its readers further into the valley.
Having escaped from the tribe, both groups of explorers take refuge in a smoking volcano where they discover ancient rooms and artefacts that point them towards the location of the Sceptre itself but, due to Crakewell’s impatience, they end up trapped in a subterranean room where they are drugged into unconsciousness. Coming to, they realise that they are once again about to be sacrificed, but this time to an altogether more living beast.
I have enjoyed the all-ages MULP from the start and the climax to the Sceptre of the Sun story in this fifth issue is a fitting conclusion to the tale. As a trained archaeologist it is not perhaps surprising that Matt based the first two issues around the places and artefacts of both the Ancient Egyptian and Incan civilisations before heading into Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Harryhausen territory with unknown tribes and ancient beasts in a lost world at the ends of the Earth. As a Harryhausen fan, this issue with its story homages to the likes of The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye Of The Tiger, left me with a smile on my face whilst another sequence even took me back, intended or not, to the original King Kong.
Sara’s artwork has become progressively more cinematic over the five issues but for me it is the facial close-ups that are the standout as her art conveys the emotions of our furry little heroes and villains making these anthropomorphic animals all the more human. Indeed her artwork would not look out of place in the highly illustrated nursery comics of the 1960s and 1970s like Once Upon A Time or Playhour. I hope that we will continue to have the opportunity to see it now that this MULP story has reached its conclusion.
Is running into a smoking volcano the safest course of action they could take to get away from their pursuers?
Do our heroes discover and retrieve the Sceptre or will Crakewell win out and become rich off the treasure he believes the Sceptre to be?
All is revealed by Matt and Sara in this fifth issue of MULP: Sceptre of the Sun as the tale gives us more ancient history of the mouse civilisation we have been journeying through over the previous four issues before reaching its very satisfying conclusion, and even managing a rather unexpected epilogue.
Plus, I’m pleased to say, it leaves just enough wriggle room for a sequel!
• Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton will be at the Thought Bubble convention in Harrogate this coming weekend, 9/10 November 2019, where they will be signing copies of MULP 5, as well as all the other issues in the series, at the Improper Books stand in the ComiXology Originals Hall (Tables 155 and 156)
MULP: Sceptre Of The Sun on downthetubes :
- Issue 1 preview and review
- Issue 2 preview and review
- Issue 3 preview and review
- Issue 4 preview and review
• The DTT interview with Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton is here
• MULP – Sceptre Of The Sun on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)