Born a Warrior-King but forced into slavery, N’Kantu’s destiny brings him to modern times as the terrifying, immortal Living Mummy, a shambling wanderer without a home.
Entombed for All Eternity
The promising son of a Northern African tribe’s chieftain some 3,000 years ago, N’Kantu fails to stop the evil Egyptian pharaoh, Aram-Set, from abducting his people, the Swarili tribe, and enslaving them. Ever the warrior, N’Kantu leads a revolt to topple the ruler, but himself falls prey to the unscrupulous priest Nephrus and his paralyzing potion of living death. As punishment for his yearning to be free, the young man finds himself mummified and sealed in a tomb to live through the ages, undead and unable to move or speak until finally gaining his freedom thousands of years later in the modern era. He becomes Ba’ka Mumiya, the Living Mummy.
Under the Wraps
Beneath the Living Mummy’s encompassing bandages lurks the heart of a cunning warrior and masterful tactician, as well as a thoughtful prince to his people. The priest’s potion gifts him with stunning strength and stamina, but his long centuries in the tomb rob N’Kantu of his former agility and speed. Fortunately, this loss is compensated by granite-like skin, resistance to drugs and disease, and near-immortality.
Visually, the prince’s once-handsome appearance degrades to a partially skeletal form, which unnerves the faint of heart among those he encounters. Coupled with his inability to speak without difficulty and his vulnerability to fire, this makes for a challenge to the Living Mummy to play nice with others. While he works for the Egyptian god of Anubis, patron god of funerary rights and passage of souls, he’s endowed with the ability to collect souls himself.
No Port in an Eternal Storm
N’Kantu’s wandering nature, grotesque presentation, and often-times superior air have all made it difficult for him to forge friendships and lasting relationships beyond casual alliances and acquaintances. With his tribe completely lost to him ages ago and his lot in life now one of suffering and separation, he tends to spend much of his existence alone.
The Living Mummy’s few and far between allies include the Bloodstones, Ulysses and his daughter Elsa, and fellow immortal Frankenstein’s Monster. When he’s forcibly recruited onto the Howling Commandos, he believes the team’s methods too similar to his former enslavement and makes his escape. He does, however, freely join Phil Coulson’s team of Howling Commandos.
Other allies include Ben Grimm, AKA The Thing, of the Fantastic Four, who he assists in rescuing Alicia Masters from Gamal Hassan—another descendant of Nephrus who sought the Spirit Gem of Nephrus; and his fellow “monsters” of the so-called Legion of Monsters.
For a time, N’Kantu joins Anthony Druid, AKA Doctor Druid’s Shock Troop, a group of mystic-oriented heroes, battling Antibodies alongside Wendell Vaughn, AKA Quasar. Whether alone or alongside allies, N’Kantu’s enemies are usually magic-wielders and those seeking to manipulate him for their own gain, such as the priest Nephrus, and the sorcerers Rakses and Merlin.
One Step at a Time
Forcing himself from his tomb and into the modern world by sheer force of will, the Living Mummy ran afoul of trouble almost immediately when he rampaged through the tangled streets of Cairo and into the waiting yet unfriendly arms of the local police. Subdued and packed up and off to a museum in New York City, N’Kantu encountered not only a group of beings called the Elementals who sought to use him to gain a mystical scarab, but also temporary allies in the form of a thief, two college students, and others.
The ancient prince took to wandering after his first adventures and made the acquaintance of monster hunter Ulysses Bloodstone, the super heroic Thing, and a descendant of the evil priest who sent him down his current path of living death. The Mummy attempted to restore his lost humanity with a shard from the powerful Bloodgem, but ultimately surrendered it to Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, during the Sentinel of Liberty’s quest to gather together all the pieces of the infamous artifact. N’Kantu later joined forces with Doctor Druid’s monstrous Shock Troop, aided Elsa Bloodstone and Frankenstein’s Monster, and took on the role of guardian over the fabled Orb of Ra.
When the law enforcement agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. forced the Living Mummy to join its ranks as a member of the Howling Commandos to battle the magician Merlin, N’Kantu rebelled against their enslavement of him and escaped, but not before he helped them defeat Merlin. Soon after, he was recaptured by S.H.I.E.L.D. during the Super Hero Civil War and placed in a government prison in the Negative Zone, he eventually found his freedom once more during Captain America’s subsequent invasion and breakout of all prisoners. He returned to Egypt then to renew his guardianship over the Orb of Ra and form a plan to end his eternal existence once and for all.
N’Kantu summoned the spirit of Nephrus to aid him in ending his immortal life, but when the attempt failed, he welcomed an offer from the Egyptian deity Anubis to harvest souls in return for a permanent end to his undead life. During this time, N’Kantu joined with the Legion of Monsters and Phil Coulson’s new Howling Commandos, as well as choosing to assist Dracula in the Lord of Vampire’s personal war against the demoness Shiklah. Sadly, the mercenary Wade Wilson, AKA Deadpool, also held a stake in the hostilities and seemingly took pains to bring the Living Mummy to the end of his wrappings for good by way of fire and mutilation.