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‘Once & Future #4:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: Duncan and Bridgette have enlisted the help of Duncan’s failed date Rose (a doctor of history) on their quest. Meanwhile, Elaine pledged her son Galahad to Arthur’s service, promising him the Holy Grail, leading Elaine to take a drastic step.

Issue #4 is a deep dive into some Holy Grail mythology, and Duncan’s ties to the quest become much clearer with some nice payoffs from earlier details. We’ve come to the emotional crux of the first arc, I think, with some profound revelations about our intrepid heroes. I’ve a feeling that there’s going to be some serious conflict between Duncan and Bridgette soon. Family stuff is bound to get messy, especially if the whole good vs. evil thing is all in the family business in more ways than one.

After firmly establishing Duncan and Bridgette’s characters, Kieron Gillen literally flips the script on us, firmly entrenching Duncan’s story in Arthurian and Holy Grail mythology, while giving Bridgette some more pain and dimension. Duncan may seem to be all lovable and goofy Labrador retriever, but, boy, does he have skin in the game now. Gillen keeps the plotpoints coming without sacrificing the big character moments. From the moment that Rose picks up on some of Bridgette’s turn of phrases and continues to pick at that obviously uncomfortable scab, the suspense just builds until the writing is spattered on the wall. Gillen gives us some answers and introduces some newer questions while laying the groundwork for the climax for the first arc. Personally, I love Gillen’s inclusion of more esoteric Arthurian/Holy Grail mythology elements, albeit in a modern context. The developments here also show that just about every bit of exposition since the first issue has been a deliberate breadcrumb about Duncan’s once and future.

The art continues to be a bright spot. Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain just gel together. Mora’s linework is gorgeous, and Bonvillain just seems to know how to elevate anything, whether it’s setting atmosphere or ratcheting up the tension. Ed Dukeshire’s lettering is consistently good, and that makes reading the text an uncomplicated joy.

Overall, if Hocus Pocus meets The DaVinci Code sounds like a good time, you really need to be reading this series. If it doesn’t… why are you still reading this?

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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