Previously in Penny Dreadful: The Awakening #2.2
In this issue, Sir Lyle finally puts to rest the questions about Amunet and Vanessa, and their relation to each other and to Amun-Ra, all of which crossed the mind of any hardcore Dreadful during the series:
- Did Vanessa channel the Amunet, and is Amunet separate from the “Mother of Evil”?
- Did this same drama play out between Amunet and Amun-Ra as it did between Vanessa and Dracula?
- If so, how did it end?
- How will spectral Lucifer make this work if he wins the contest for Vanessa’s soul?
Lyle weaves the Ancient Egyptian account of the princess Amunet hearing voices, which we know is Lucifer wooing her as he did Vanessa. Although she is betrothed to Amun-Ra, she is in love with Belial, an army captain. Claw marks begin appearing on her from the inside out, and Lucifer reveals himself as a cobra, demanding she give herself to him. Amun-Ra summons his hordes of minions–we never see vampire teeth, but he clearly has thralls–to go after Belial, believing him to be the problem. He escapes, but Amunet is overtaken by Lucifer, so Amun-Ra convinces her father, the pharaoh, to banish Belial. Abandoned in the desert, Belial is enlisted by a wizened sorceress in the service of Lucifer as a Son of Darkness and learns necromancy so that he can raise an army against the thralls.
Amun-Ra quickly goes full psycho, crucifying Belial’s former army and murdering the pharaoh, but misses the army’s approach because he’s arguing with his brother Lucifer through Amunet. Belial attempts to rescue her, but, like Vanessa, in one lucid moment, she kills herself. Amun-Ra zips off just like Dracula in the series finale, while Belial takes her body to the sorceress, who explains that although he can raise her from the dead, without the heart of someone she loves, she will be a mindless zombie.
He sacrifices himself for this cause, but before the sorceress can complete the spell, Amun-Ra sics his winged minions on her, laughing that no man’s heart would withstand Lucifer inhabiting her body, which was his intention all along. Amun-Ra retreats to the shadows with his minions until the Mother of Darkness returns in human form. Back at Grandage Place, Sir Lyle, Malcolm, and Catriona realize that Vanessa’s body is the mummified Belial’s ultimate target to give Lucifer human form, and so must Ethan, the man she loves, whose heart is no mere mortal’s.
Although the art is at times unclear, especially as I never could tell if they intended for Amun-Ra to have fangs or to look like Dracula/aka Alexander Sweet, this flashback to Egypt’s glory days worked very well with Jesús Hervás’s style. The vibrant colors and patterns throughout this epic clash between the brothers of evil made this one of the better issues of both comic series. As for Chris King’s writing, I greatly appreciated the backstory, which suggests that the Mother of Evil merely inhabited/reincarnated in Amunet’s body, and then again in Vanessa’s body, carrying Amunet’s leftover essence with it, drawing Madame Kali’s notice in “Seance.” The Mother of Evil spirit itself, however, is, as she says, “much older.”
I would be interested to find out what roused her from the depths to settle on Vanessa some 3000 years later with apparently nothing in between. I would also love to see the Mother of Evil herself push back against the warring brothers’ desires, as it seems they are both only interested in her insomuch as the power they gain to overrun the earth. As a spirit as old as Gaia, does she not have an agenda? It would be quite enthralling to see her take the forefront, perhaps in the next series, rather than simply retreating once more and going back to sleep. The twist regarding Ethan’s heart is quite clever as it can be used against her to Lucifer’s purpose, although there was seemingly no Lupus Dei counterpart in Amunet’s timeline, despite the legend’s assertion that the brothers, Mother of Evil, and Lupus Dei are locked in an eternal circle.
The back matter was once again very light, alternate covers which were more theme appropriate, particularly the one by Louie De Martinis, than the one used, which was of Lily at her daughter’s grave. A bit of a non sequitur, since she did not appear at all in this issue, but it is quite gorgeous nonetheless.