Ennead Manhwa Volume 1 Review

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Not that Egyptian mythology is completely ignored by popular culture; nonetheless, it isn’t as well-known as, say, Norse or Greco-Roman mythology when it comes to ancient civilizations. Novels by authors such as Pauline Gedge and Danielle S. LeBlanc take place in ancient Egypt, and mythology is used in anime by series such as Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God and Stardust Crusaders. The long-running shōjo manga Ōke no Monshō should also not be overlooked. With Ennead, a full-color manhwa first published on Webtoon, Korean manhwa author Mojito aims to add to that list. The story takes place during the epic cycle that encompasses Horus and his parents, Isis and Osiris.

It is OK if you are unaware of the legend. The juxtaposition of the “myth” and “reality” parts of the story is one of the most eye-catching aspects of Mojito’s first book, which seems to have been written with that intention. The former is shown using almost stick figures that evoke images of hieroglyphics and texts from Ancient Egypt. There are just black characters on a sepia-toned backdrop; reading them is more like looking at symbols than a conventional comic book panel. The sections of the book that take place in the current day of the tale, on the other hand, are completely rendered. Instead of lines of narration, there are voice and text bubbles. The colors are reduced, but we still receive a whole spectrum. The gods themselves are just as intriguing as Mojito. Evidently, the artist is trying to stay true to the traditional Egyptian depiction of the gods, which often has human bodies with animal heads. So, we cover their human faces unless we stare directly at them by giving them animal-head caps with large brims. Typically, Seth seems to be human with a jackal-like head (often called a “Seth animal”) attached to his body. However, when he wants to convey more emotion, we get hints of his eyes and lips. While this is happening, Osiris’s greenish skin from Ancient Egyptian art remains, leading us to believe that he is a zombie upon his brief return to Earth.

Primarily, this first book serves as a setup. We learn a lot about the foundational myths of the Ennead of Heliopolis, such who is married to whom and how many children they have (or had), but Seth and Nephthys are only said to have one kid, Anubis, even though they are said to have four in mythology. The answer is obvious: every single person’s sibling is their spouse. Interspersed among the stories is the story of Isis’s return to Egypt with her son Horus, who is ready to see Seth punished for his betrayal. The bulk of this plot revolves around the encounter and the start of the trial. The main characters, Seth and Isis, are logically envious of one other and murdered Osiris in this novel so that he could have Isis. His greatest disappointment will be in himself when he learns that he was not successful in eliminating his brother, even if Isis eluded him.

Everyone we spend any significant time with seems to be utterly engrossed in their own story, at least in our heads. Seth is shown as being driven by his desires and on the verge of losing his sanity due to his actions, while Isis is known for her dramatic outbursts, despite the sympathetic faith that Nephthys has in him. Neither Anubis, Seth’s son, nor Horus says much and seems to follow the pathways set out for them, yet they are the ones who feel the most abused by the narrative. However, it is clear that there is more to the Seth/Osiris/Isis tale than what is being revealed. As the cameras are away from them, Osiris’s interactions with Seth during his testimony regarding his murder may be seen as more than just brotherly. Naturally, I may be looking for the BL in this supposed BL title; alternatively, it could be Horus and Anubis, or Osiris and Seth. Whether or whether it matters in the long run is still up in the air, and to be honest, the story would be just as interesting without the romance.

You may find the spellings “Seth” and “Bastet” a little strange at first if you’re used to “Set” and “Bast,” since the English translator had to select between many different spellings. Even though sun gods are often shown as male, the Ancient Egyptian sun deities could assume a variety of female and male-male forms. Because of the strong association between the feminine and the act of giving birth, Mojito may have chosen a female Ra as Ra is a deity who gives birth to herself before Shu and Tefnut. Part of the volume’s allure is the impression that much study was conducted prior to the story’s writing. Because of the panel layout and shape, it is rather apparent that this was first published as a vertical scrolling manhwa, which is more noticeable than in other manhwas. What matters most is that it remains simple to read.

Anyone with even a passing interest in Ancient Egyptian mythology should read Ennead; beyond that, however, it stands on its own as an intriguing tale. Even though there isn’t a whole lot of action in this novel, it’s unique and interesting. That is why I think you should give it a try; I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

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