Quick recap: In order to assume the role of the Fisher King so that Duncan could pass over and retrieve the Holy Grail, Bridgette shot herself. Having prevented Galahad from procuring the Grail, Duncan must now try and save his Gran. Through a bit of ingenuity and adherence to lore, he beseeches the Ladies of the Lake for the ultimate Arthurian weapon: Excalibur.
With Excalibur in tow and Bridgette slung on his ridiculously broad and shapely shoulders, Duncan “Percival” McGuire is off to face down King Arthur in Camelot. The mythic sword proves to be legendary. While the present crisis seems to be at least temporarily averted, we get the promise of a wizard of a time in Duncan’s future.
Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora have created one of my favorite new IPs in recent history. Once & Future is at once a fresh take on classic myths and legends that we’re all pretty familiar with, but it’s also not afraid to be tongue-in-cheek, and it eschews mindless deference for respect of the audience’s intellect. It is, at its core, an exploration of family legacy and the toll legacy can take over what is real, and this is all deftly interwoven with how legends can deviate from the truth. More to the point, the finale of the first arc also hints at how “destiny” can sometimes just be fate that we manufacture, and the outcome is less than planned.
The Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain duo closes out this arc in great style. There are some amazing action sequences and great emotional beats in this issue. Bonvillain’s color work just elevates Mora’s excellent line work; Once & Future is truly a gorgeous series to read. Ed Dukeshire further elevates the quality here with his amazing lettering, infusing the text with personality, tone, and gravitas.
Overall, the first arc ends with plenty of new possibilities. Gillen et al. have created something special here, and I’m really keen on where things go from here, especially given the cliffhanger.
Creative Team: Kieron Gillen (writer), Dan Mora (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.