‘Once & Future #21:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: With the rest of the nursing home group (relatively?) ensconced in the Grail Castle, Bridgette, Duncan, and Rose headed off to Bath to hopefully retrieve Rose’s parents. Unfortunately, a he-gorgon is a solid obstacle between them and their quarry.

Navigating a city full of recently turned stone statues is a bit unnerving, especially when you’re trying to dodge the gorgon responsible for the devastation. Thankfully, the enemy of one’s enemy can be a very useful diversion. And just when you thought the stories couldn’t get any more jumbled up, enter a giant, new addition that has roots in much older stories and possible Shakespearean nods.

As we’re halfway through this new arc, we’re about to go careening into some serious stuff soon. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Kieron Gillen’s ability to write creative spins on well-known stories and meld them into a cohesive narrative that at once feels relevant and refreshing is nothing short of a revelation. Gillen writes great action, but it also feels balanced with a lot of plotting and planning that ensures that the story doesn’t careen off the rails, despite there being plenty of opportunity to do so when he’s juggling so many plot elements.

While I’ve often sung Dan Mora’s praises for his creative creature design and dynamic action sequences, this issue hit a bit differently for me. Not that it was bad, but there were these really great personal moments that were quieter and emotional. That Polaroid scene… it left me with some major feels and quite a bit of dread; it feels like the third act for a character that I really love. Oh, there’s some pretty gross stuff in here, too, but that’s par for the course. Tamra Bonvillain’s colorwork is… oy, I feel like I’m repeating myself here, too, but it’s amazing, it’s beautiful. I wish she colored my life.

Overall, things are heating up, with monsters and baddies galore. The rag-tag team of heroes just seems to be getting scrappier with each new passing desperate scenario.    


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