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"Once & Future #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by BOOM! Studios


Written by Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by Dan Mora
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
2019, 34 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 14th, 2019


Duncan is a bit of a wet blanket. He means well, but he's clumsy and a bit neurotic. His grandmother Bridgette is the complete opposite. She's a retired monster hunter and is forced back into the field when a group of Nationalists unearth Excalibur's scabbard with the intention of unleashing all kinds of horrors into the world. Duncan is surprised to learn of his grandmother's exploits. If he's going to survive the next few days, he's going to have to pull himself together.

Once & Future wastes no time establishing the characters and this world. We've seen monster hunters before, but not quite like this. Writer Kieron Gillen plays with existing folklore and modern day horrors to create one helluva story right out of the gate. We're hooked by Bridgette's fun and quirky nature and then pulled in by the twists and turns this first issue has for us.

Click images to enlarge

Artist Dan Mora highlights the personalities of each characters in his stellar work. I've been following Mora's career since Hexed and he never disappoints. You get an immediate sense as to who a character is based on his designs for them. For example, Duncan has a near constant furrowed brow, like he's always worrying about something or other. Meanwhile, Bridgette has a wily look in her eye, showing that she knows more than she's letting on.

Once & Future introduced me to the Questing Beast, a monster I've never heard of but will be plaguing my nightmares. It's a horrifying amalgamation of different animals with a snake for a head, the body of a horse, and a leopard's claws. The most unsettling aspect of it is its stomach...which is full of live dogs. Let that sink in for a moment. Mora brings this to life in a frightening fashion. When it's not scaring the crap out of you, it's making you cringe based on its very existence.

Click images to enlarge

The encounter with the Questing Beast happens out in the woods as the sun rises. Colorist Tamra Bonvillain adds to the energy of this battle with bright yellows and greens. The sun shines through the trees to create this intriguing twilight. This also serves as a metaphor for Duncan's own awakening into this wide world of monsters.

The intensity of the battle is amplified by letterer Ed Dukeshire. We already knew that Duncan would be losing his mind out here, but we can practically hear it based on how his screams are shown. The word balloons are spiky and alarming as Duncan runs for his life through the woods.

Once & Future is most definitely a comic to watch. This first issue is already on its way to a fourth printing, so it looks like people are taking notice. You do not want to miss this. It's a solid tale of monsters and folklore mixed with great character work and some of the best art in the business. The creators set a pretty high bar with this debut issue and I cannot wait to see where this goes next.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Overall: 5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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