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‘Once & Future #13:’ Comic Book Review

Quick recap: Things got decidedly messy in the last arc. Sometimes, mucking through the mess is how you get to a clean start, or at least a cleaner slate to begin. Having dispatched not just Beowulf but also Grendel and his mother, the McGuires seem to be in a better place now. Meanwhile, Mary/Elaine/Nimue is out there playing Merlin’s game. Oh… and Duncan and Rose are maybe an item?

With her daughter out there messing about with forces that she probably doesn’t fully comprehend, Bridgette receives an omen, one that promises “sorrow” and, very likely, mayhem along with it. Meanwhile, in their quest to find Mary before she engages in any more shenanigans, Duncan, Rose, and Gran have two leads to follow: find the fine gentleman that served as “Elaine’s” “Lancelot” or track her through her neo-Nazi buddies. Since things rarely go simply for the lot, they also find themselves further entangled in the story, with yet another knight of green great renown.  

Hoo boy… we’ve got a “Percival” and a “Galahad” so far, and while Duncan is basically collecting epic names under his belt, perhaps he might want to add… y’know what, we’ll save that for next time. The introduction of a character that has frequently been depicted as a judge of virtue and character in a story about a virtuous young man, this really has some places to go. Kieron Gillen kicks off his latest arc with a no-holds-barred approach. Exposition is dealt with efficiently, allowing for quite a few hysterical character moments. In an arc that looks to show us more of how the family accords with the UK government work, we may get a very pointed take on the tension between virtue and politics. Gillen keeps reminding us that #StoriesMatter when they provide fresh takes on possibly overdone topics and tropes.

Dan Mora keeps going from strength to strength. The opening sequence with Bridgette and the magpies is such an exercise in tension, humor, and gore. His character design for the new addition to this story pays so much attention to detail about the character: battleaxe, holly, and because of his general association with nature, that crazy antlered helmet! Once again, Tamra Bonvillain’s colors are quite literally out of this world. They make subtlety look like a cakewalk at times and it really isn’t. And then you have the moments that require all the drama of blood explosions, and she does those equally well. So, y’know, she’s perfect for this project. Speaking of perfect for the project, I’d love to watch Ed Dukeshire in his process… I say this time and time again, but Dukeshire’s lettering makes reading a comic book so intuitive, and it all feels so natural. He has a way of just leading the eye to the next logical spot so there’s never any confusion about how to read the lines.

Overall, the more you read into this series, the more connections you make. Gillen et al. have crafted something truly extraordinary here, and I’m glad to see the tale continue into a new arc.  


Creative Team: Kieron Gillen (writer), Dan Mora (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.



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