Quick recap: While the McGuires (and Rose) successfully staved off Arthur’s attempt at bringing xenophobia back in style, they did not come out of the experience unscathed. Having learned of his family’s history and accepting the nature of his calling, Duncan is a bit more jaded now, and his relationship with Bridgette is strained. Meanwhile, Elaine is out there, doing stuff after meeting Merlin.
The new arc begins with Galahad taking the Siege Perilous in order to prove himself worthy as Arthur’s “greatest knight.” (The Siege Perilous being the seat at the Round Table that was reserved for the knight who would successfully deliver the Holy Grail.) The occupant of the seat is, of course, if you remember your Arthurian lore and the first arc, either Percival or Galahad, depending on the source, so you know there’s going to be drama there. Meanwhile, Duncan and Bridgette are not quite on friendly terms yet, but Bridgette’s experience in the field is indispensable, if you want to survive the family business. A high-stakes caper leads to a fairly messy, but on-brand, reunion. Meanwhile, it appears that Elaine has switched sides on this whole Britonic pride thing, resurrecting the most famous Saxon of all. Those of you who sat through an Old English Lit class may literally have PTSD (or excited chills!) as she recites the opening lines of arguably the most famous Old English epic of all regarding a Saxon warrior who becomes king.
Kieron Gillen kicks off the new arc with some really cool, new twists and additions to the lore. Gillen’s re-imagining of Arthurian legends with a darker lens that paints a traditionally heroic figure in a much less noble light is not just refreshing, it’s perhaps an absolutely necessary reexamination of a character so steeped in cultural and national tradition. Heroes and villains are so often cast as such because of who writes history. This is why #StoriesMatter. They matter because they tell the stories of the victors, but stories also allow us to explore context and shift perspectives. With global changes in racial, ethnic, and religious makeups, I personally think that national identity is something that warrants a good hard look, because historical views shouldn’t be the basis for discrimination. Personally, I think that this series takes a very shrewd look at this issue in some pretty nuanced ways.
Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain continue to elevate the game here. Mora’s mind is a sick paradise I’d love to visit… He presents horror and violence so beautifully, and Bonvillain’s color work gives it so much character. Ed Dukeshire continues to pull off some MVP work here with his lettering. Whether it’s depicting atmosphere and tone or just giving Old English realness, he keeps the story going without a hitch.
Overall, new and exciting possibilities abound with this new arc. This series has become a must-read for me. Mythology, politics, anthropology, literature, and history in an action-packed narrative? If you like Indiana Jones at all, this is right up your alley. But it’s even better!
Creative Team: Kieron Gillen (writer), Dan Mora (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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