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‘Once & Future #16:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: While Mary/Elaine/Nimue had a chat with Rose, Duncan and Bridgette figured out how Mary conceived Galahad and come face to face with none other than the famous Lancelot himself.

This issue picks right up from where we left off: An unexpected interference frees Rose from Mary’s clutches, but Duncan and Bridgette are on the run from Lancelot. Meanwhile, Merlin’s plan seems to be moving forward, with some new twists. With the closing pages, Kieron Gillen has set up a brawl for the ages, it would seem, bringing together the whole extended McGuire family with some extras. While this seems to very much be a clash of egos, national identities, and ideologies, it’s perhaps useful to also see them as very human stories. There is a profound moment in which Bridgette doubts if her efforts in the past had been of any use at all, and it’s a touching moment of self-doubt from someone as self-assured as she is. It’s a brief flash that speaks to the moment, both in the narrative and as meta-commentary about the world we live in, one that’s constantly in flux because of the tides of change that is perhaps humankind’s sole constant. Duncan’s emphatic response is simply that “We’ll make the best of it.” Perhaps that’s naïve, but maybe that’s just practical? Because making the best of it doesn’t imply complacency, and it’s pretty clear that any great endeavor requires a “we.” #StoriesMatter because our shared humanity is the human story.

The artwork in this issue is quite remarkable. Dan Mora’s linework runs the gamut from tender moments to dragons and other wacky character designs in between. The page of Arthur on the Siege Perilous is hauntingly beautiful, and our introduction to Galahad’s new look is… well, let’s just say it’s nutty in all the good ways. (Kinda gross, too.) Tamra Bonvillain’s colors truly do elevate Mora’s linework. They make the mundane moments feel heightened, and her ability to make gruesome moments look beautiful somehow just intensifies the horror. Ed Dukeshire’s lettering keeps going from strength to strength, and his ability to just differentiate volume/tone with such skill should be celebrated. Seriously, could we put his name on the covers, too? His contributions should be recognized as much as the rest of the team.

Overall, with two issues to go before the end of the arc, this issue sets up a major point of conflict, namely a family feud that’s been simmering for the better part of 20+ years.  


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