The rodent adventurers of MULP are back in their on-going quest to discover a powerful ancient relic, the Sceptre Of The Sun. Written by Matt Gibbs and illustrated by Sara Dunkerton, MULP issue 3 joins our mousey heroes as they prepare to set foot on Antarctica.
Ex-soldier Jack Redpath and reporter Vicky Jones stay with the archaeological team of Prof Walter Harvest-Scott, his daughter Elisabeth and their colleague Cornelius Field as they voyage from Peru to Antarctica on the trail of the Sceptre Of The Sun. Travelling to the interior of the frozen continent by bumblebee sled team the mice are more than aware that they must be being pursued by Mademoiselle Moreau and her sidekick Genevieve who want the Sceptre for their so far unnamed employer who, unknown to them and due to Moreau’s perceived failures, has decided to take personal command of the chase.
Their dangerous journey into Antarctica’s Victoria Land leads then to a hidden valley bereft of ice and snow which also seems to affect their scientific instruments. Taking this as a sign that they might be close to the Sceptre itself, the mice press on into this lost valley having seen their pursuers also enter the valley and things come to a head when the archaeological team are finally caught by Moreau and they are introduced to her employer. However both teams soon discover that lost valleys can also contain lost beasts.
As writer Mat Gibbs moves his characters into the middle of the story, MULP is being told over five issues, he also moves them away from the archaeological themes of the first two issues and into the more fantastical themes of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Caprona books such as The Land That Time Forgot or Ray Harryhausen’s land of the Arimaspi in Sinbad and The Eye Of The Tiger. This is by no means a bad thing, after all “MULP” is a contraction of “mouse pulp” as in “pulp fiction”, and the action and adventure of this story rarely lets up as Matt keeps the story rushing forward.
Artist Sara Dunkerton certainly does not make things easy for herself with many impressive full page-width panels featuring multiple characters, one has 15 rodents in it, panels which she is making more and more cinematic as the story progresses. However for me it is the amount of pathos and, dare I say, humanity that Sara is able to get into her characters’ little furry faces that really impresses with her artwork.
Despite the way the story powers on there are more than enough quiet pauses for the mice to reflect on what is happening, be it of the deck of a ship or in the flickering light of a campfire, and although there are various shocks and action scenes elsewhere in the issue, these quiet interludes standout for me as the writing and artistic highlights of the book.
With MULP – Sceptre Of The Sun issue 3 Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton take their on-going story into new realms that bodes well for the final two issues of this excellent title.
• There are more details of MULP: Sceptre Of The Sun, and how to buy a copy, at the MULP website: www.mulpcomic.com
• MULP – Sceptre Of The Sun on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)
• Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton talked to downthetubes about MULP: Sceptre Of The Sun here
• There are more details of Matt Gibbs’ work on his website
• There are more details of Sara Dunkerton’s work on her blog
• All issues of MULP will be available at Thought Bubble in Leeds over the weekend of 5/6 November 2016 where Improper Books will be in the New Dock Hall