Hexed Comic Series Summary / Review – Part 3 (Spoilers)
We gain a bit more insight into Lucifer’s character in the first issue of the main series alone, where she resolves to kill Dietrich because he would kill Val before he would let her pay off her debt. She hates having to defile a corpse in order to access a demonic realm using a knife called an eye-tooth, but advises the poor coroner who witnesses her come out to not bother reporting it because she’d be long gone and no one would believe him. It’s made evident in the second issue that’s she’s lived a hard enough life on the street that she knows how to fight dirty. So from the beginning we know that she can be spiteful to those that cross her, cares about those who love her, and tries to keep civilians out of these matters. When she becomes the Thief, the next Keeper of Secrets after the Harlot, she cites who she was before was dead, but traces of it still leaked in until she eventually gave the mantle to Madam Cymbaline.
Lucifer doesn’t see herself as feminine, not that she can’t play it up, and loathes the idea of wearing dresses. She considers herself a magic-user, but not a witch. The people she works with in both series are her lifeline and strongest ties to morality, and without them she is capable of being just as dangerous as the people she faces. The moment Val is killed and Lucifer loses one of the few remaining connections she has, she immediately stops playing nice and does things that are bad enough that it risks the very world itself and other gods are willing to punish her for it. Despite that, it’s made clear that she doesn’t want to do bad things and the path to redemption isn’t beyond her.
The Harlot is the Keeper of Secrets, an immortal being that is constantly being filled with the knowledge of the world and thus driven either mad or in immense pain by it. Her true identity is Fastrada, a woman born with magical powers hundreds of years ago. With the Witch Hunts going on, her sisters came up with the idea of gaining true power by sacrificing their children, all of whom did except for her. To protect her child, she became the Harlot from the previous Keeper of Secrets and lost her child at the same time. What happens to her child becomes the secret that is kept from her as the Harlot, only to be learned once a new Keeper of Secrets is found.
At some point in the past she marked Lucifer as the next Keeper of Secrets, though the Witchdom book cites Lucifer stole something from her and the Harlot used her as a pawn in turn, marking her after the Keeper of Secrets was the last major power left in the Aether. I’d take it with a grain of salt, but the point I’m making is that whatever reason she marked her and whatever grievances that Lucifer has with her, the Harlot bears with it because in a spiritual sense she does see her as the daughter that she lost as a mortal upon becoming the Harlot.
She doesn’t like being denounced a witch because whereas the rest of her sisters were willing to kill their children to gain power, she was willing to throw her mortal life away in an attempt to protect hers. She comes to realize, after learning that her child died alone and miserable at an early age from illness in an orphanage, Lucifer was the child she was supposed to protect. This is made clear as her final actions in the series serve to protect Lucifer from all those who were willing to harm her at the cost of herself, sucking them into the realm that the Yellow Crown leads to.
Val is an art curator who just so happens to collect dangerous magical artifacts to keep them out of the wrong hands. From beginning to the end, she was a motherly figure to both Raina and Lucifer. She was the first person to refer to Lucifer’s name as being lovely for a girl, and happens to be very protective of the two under her care.
She isn’t afraid to get rough to protect them or herself, proven when she killed Dietrich’s men, gutted Yves with a spear, and confronted the Harlot. The only time she truly gets furious with Lucifer was when she killed herself to get into the Shade. Likewise, she was willing to die in order to keep Lucifer safe and left behind a parting gift—a message telling her that she would await her in Heaven.
Madam Cymbaline is a minor character in the first series, but becomes the main antagonist in the second. She is a powerful figure in the magical community, and both villains before her, Dietrich and Yves, attempt to remove her from power only to fail due to Lucifer’s assistance. Despite that, she still yearns for more power to bring the Graeae back into a position of power they’ve been cast out of by the Harlot.
For the most part, Madam Cymbaline holds no strong feelings against Lucifer initially. She just so happens to be in her way, and killing Lucifer is the most efficient means of being rid of her. Likewise, Lucifer recognizes that she’s an important figure in the community and getting rid of her would do more harm than good. By the end, both absolutely loathe one another because they both crossed lines that the other could no longer tolerate—killing Val for Lucifer, and costing her the chance to become the next Keeper of Secrets for Madam Cymbaline.
Madam Cymbaline is the opposite of the Harlot, both powerful figures in the world of magic whose ties to their sisters bind them to their fate. But while the Harlot managed to resist her sisters, Madam Cymbaline goes along with their plans in order to bring them back to glory. The net result is that she briefly becomes a god and attains her goal, only to lose everything in the end.
Raina is new to all of this and, through circumstances somewhat beyond her control, becomes capable of using Necromancy. Val wanted her to take a break so she didn’t witness what Lucifer and Val were doing, namely going into a painting to pull a security guard named Bob out of it after he had a heart attack and getting him medical treatment. In the process they accidentally freed Yves, who stole Raina’s soul. Lucifer goes into the Shade and uses a mask to retrieve it or something similar and the end result is that Raina owes the Keeper of Secrets a debt. Afterwards, she accompanies Lucifer until she becomes the Thief and then proceeds to work to free her from the role. At the end of the series, she opens an art gallery like Val did with Lucifer at her side.
The overarching plot of both Hexed series serves to show Lucifer’s struggles in the face of the life she’s lived and her efforts to find redemption. She’s done bad things and has had to struggle to survive, but ultimately chooses what’s best for the world over what’s best for herself… right up until it gets someone she loved killed. After that, she becomes lost in her rage and grief, willing to potentially damn the world in an effort to get revenge. Only then we see that the friendships she forged enabled her to escape from the role she took up and give her a chance at true redemption.
She’s someone who’s teetering on the edge despite her best efforts and does eventually jump over the line, but because of the friendship she forged with Raina and Bob, and the matronly figures of the Harlot and Val, she’s given the chance to be free of it all.
The series was magnificent through and through, and I don’t just say that because I like Urban Fantasy of this nature. If you enjoy a story of magic in the modern world, aren’t afraid of blood or death, and the struggles of an experienced protagonist working to go against forces greater than her, I’d suggest giving it a read.
5 out of 5.