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‘Once & Future #15:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: Rose is now part of a story, having stepped in as Gawain. A lead from a dying previous associate of Mary/Elaine/Nimue’s sent Bridgette and Duncan back to the old family home. Meanwhile, Rose comes face to face with the woman at large… and a Glock.

With Duncan and Bridgette sussing out Mary’s fateful encounter with a cauldron at the old family house, Rose sees first-hand what lengths Mary went through in order to conceive a Galahad, all to spite her mother. There’s a truly psychotic vein that runs through the McGuires… And if you feel that Kieron Gillen just couldn’t fit another legendary character in here, enter Elaine’s baby daddy, the one and only Lancelot. The addition of Lancelot to the story actually makes things interesting in the context of how he fits in with the King Arthur canon of the series. Lancelot’s more famous exploits tend to be French additions to the tale, and this particular iteration of Arthur is kind of Britain for Bretons only. I can’t help but muse about how it’s not just that #StoriesMatter, but rather their origins matter too, as they provide a historical and cultural lens to view the stories. For the quintessential “British” story to have so much French influence is rather ironic. (Side note: There’s been a common thread about how the closer life reflects the story, the better the outcome. Well, the “Elaine” that Mary became is also the daughter of the Fisher King and Nimue, and in some versions, is also the Lady of the Lake who raised Lancelot… so, y’know… this family has some real unhealthy identity issues.)

Dan Mora does his usual excellent work here, and I can’t help but think of Abe Sapien or even the creature from The Shape of Water when looking at his design for Lancelot, which is a deviation from the rest of Arthur’s more demonic-looking Knights of the Round Table which we’ve seen so far. Lancelot’s design is decidedly more alien, with some distinct nods towards his name, Lancelot du Lac (Lancelot of the Lake). Tamra Bonvillain’s colorwork effortlessly conveys the grimy surroundings of the McGuire house, the otherworldliness of the Otherworld, and the sepia-toned flashback hides the totally horrifying memory that unfolds there. Ed Dukeshire’s lettering effectively keeps the story going, and while there aren’t nearly as many moments for the text design to shine here, Dukeshire’s consistency cannot be denied.

Overall, this issue doesn’t move the story forward all that much, but it’s very much a character study that reveals quite a bit about Mary and the depths of her conviction.  

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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