‘Once & Future #19:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: With Merlin’s plan having come to fruition and Arthur back in full power, all of Britain has been cast into the Otherworld. All seems pretty grim at the moment.  

With all of Britain seemingly cast into the Story now, the gang is effectively isolated from the rest of the world and survival is paramount, especially since everything in the Otherworld wants to kill them. While Arthur continues his quest to eliminate the Saxon threat from his lands, it’s not all smooth sailing for him either, as he comes face to face with a new rival.

Kieron Gillen’s scripts have to seem absolutely mad at times, but each issue builds on his singular vision, and it somehow just works. I don’t make the rules. Although the main storyline is a rollicking good time, Gillen shows up time and again with some deep dives that show us just why #StoriesMatter. Stories evolve over time to be whatever it is the message needs to be at a particular time. While just about everyone “knows” the King Arthur story, most of what the average reader knows is a hodge-podge of oral history, conflated myths and legends, and a good deal of political messaging. So much of the nuance in the narrative of Once & Future touches on all those elements.

Dan Mora works his usual magic. The issue starts off with a relatively slow page that then kind of goes bonkers. The visual callbacks to the first arc are nice. As is par for the course in this series, the creature design is equally creepy and beautiful… there’s a Hellboy-ish art direction to the proceedings. Tamra Bonvillain’s colorwork predominantly takes on the saturated dreamworld palette in this issue, and it blends horror with visually appealing contrasts so well that I now wish that my nightmares were colored by her. Ed Dukeshire brings the script to life, taking the larger-than-life script and giving it texture and tone that greatly complements the artwork in general.

Overall, the start of the new arc lays down the stakes right away, with the McGuires trying to keep their people alive while Arthur is gleefully cutting his way through the Saxon colonists. With the arrival of a new (unnamed) foe, I wonder how things will proceed.  


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