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‘Once & Future #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review

First things first: Congratulations are called for, as this series has been promoted to an ongoing series due to overwhelming fan support. That’s super exciting, as I think that this series has some really interesting places to go.

Quick recap: In the last issue, Duncan discovered that his nan was actually some kinda badass monster slayer in the past. A shady nationalistic group (scary, but mundane) is trying to find King Arthur to boost their cause (decidedly less mundane). Time may be running out for Duncan and his nan Bridgette to stop them.

Things pick up right after the last issue and, boy, do they pick up! Duncan and Bridgette head to Glastonbury to head off their opponents. Unfortunately, the baddies are already there. Kieron Gillen continues to craft an intriguing “King Arthur meets the horror genre” tale, with some telling hints about where things are headed. With King Arthur resurrected, the matter of a “Galahad” comes into play. Galahad is, of course, the knight that’s best known for his quest for the Holy Grail. It is also during that exact moment that Bridgette sorta flips out. There are a couple of clues here. Firstly, Bridgette knows Elaine, and, secondly, for those that are familiar with Arthurian legends, Elaine was the mother of Galahad! Elaine also has a picture of a young boy in a locket… a decidedly ginger boy… If I were a betting man, I’d guess that Elaine’s past is intertwined with Duncan’s, and that’s why Bridgette wants him out of the way, tout suite. Also, I do love how Gillen manages to incorporate certain very familiar phrases (e.g., “Britain for the British) in ironic fashion.

Dan Mora’s art is some next-level insanity here, and I mean that purely as praise. Sure, the action and character moments are well drawn and easy to follow, but it’s the design elements here that really impressed me. Mora’s design for King Arthur is at once beautiful in its primal-horror-dark-fairytale-ness and also totally gross. Tamra Bonvillain’s colors truly bring it all to life, adding dynamism and conveying atmosphere so elegantly. It may be weird to say this about an inherently “silent” medium, but Ed Dukeshire’s letters really give “voice” to these characters. Maybe it’s placement of speech bubbles, maybe it’s emphasis moments and text design, but you can almost “hear” it all, and I think that may be something that we just take for granted when it’s done so well.

Overall: An excellent second issue that really ratchets up the ante. The Gillen-Mora-Bonvillain-Dukeshire partnership really is perfection.  

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

Wenxian Tan, Fanbase Press Contributor



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