Previously in Penny Dreadful: The Awakening #2.1
We last left the British Museum gala with the awakened mummy Belial tearing through the partygoers, which he now commands to arise and feast. Catriona Hartdegen and Sir Malcolm Murray grab swords from the exhibit, but the mummy gets away and they follow it into the sewers, continuing their semi-flirtatious banter that I wasn’t here for in the TV series finale. Belial escapes to raise more zombie soldiers from the cemetery, while the Sons of Darkness, led by the troublesome Duke of Kent, gather in anticipation of Lucifer taking human form… in Vanessa Ives’ body. They haven’t disturbed her grave yet, so there is hope she will remain at peace. The Duke of Kent interrupting Belial mid-spell to mansplain their plan earned a chuckle.
Regrouping with Malcolm and Catriona at Grandage Place, Sir Lyle explains that Belial, much like Imhotep and Anck Su Namun in the The Mummy, was once captain of the royal Egyptian guards and having a secret affair with Amunet, who Madame Kali believed was speaking through Vanessa in S1E2 “Séance” and who also went mad from hearing Lucifer’s voice in her head. Unbeknownst to them, the team gains a surprise ally from Lily and her fallen-women-turned-crusaders who have joined forces with an ancient nun and are armed with a blessed silver dagger. How this nun found her “on the street” when I doubt that Lily was turning tricks for men she preferred to murder, I’m not sure.
Out on Ballantree Moor, Ethan transforms into a wolf while Dr. Seward observes, attempting to reach him by hypnosis. She enters his mind and finds him unconscious by a fire while the wolf lurks behind her. She encourages him to “Be true” and control the power of Lupus Dei. Man and beast fight to the edge of death, but Ethan overcomes.
With his hand wrapped around Dr. Seward’s throat in the physical world, Ethan manages to regain consciousness and turn himself back into human form. Dr. Seward lectures him to get a grip and use his powers for good instead of moping around like a petulant child. Thankfully he agrees, because it is about damn time. As for how bitter I am that we never saw this critical, inevitable moment in the show, on an anger scale of Sir Lyle to Mr. Hyde, I would put it at Caliban Discovers His Dad Made Another Son and Loves Him Better.
Back Matter & Discussion
This issue is light on back matter with a few alternate covers that are generally preferable to the one they chose. As with a few issues in the original release last fall, the primary cover suffers from strong Photoshop “Ink Outline” filtering and isn’t entirely relevant. I am conflicted on the art, since several pages are gorgeous, like the fight between Ethan and his wolf, while the women’s faces in particular are nearly unintelligible throughout the issue. I didn’t realize that was supposed to be Lily until the nun said her name, and I’m not sure of the artist’s intent regarding this effect.
As for the story, Ethan’s plot is quite touching and would have been amazing on screen due to Josh Hartnett and Patti Lupone absolutely killing it. The cover for the next issue features Lily kneeling at her daughter’s grave, so I am hoping we get some backstory on how she fell into the service of Mother Superior, a complete reversal from her previous path. I am also looking forward to seeing her and Ethan finally meet, but in what state? Will she accidentally use the dagger on him in wolf form? Stay tuned for Penny Dreadful: The Awakening #2.3 out in June.