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"Once & Future #7" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by BOOM! Studios

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Written by Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by Dan Mora
Colored by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 25th, 2020

Review:

Duncan's entire life has been turned upside down in the past few days. He's learned unsettling secrets about his own family and has fought an undead King Arthur, ready to take over England. The battle is far from over, as Arthur's forces continue to gather in Otherworld, escaping into our own to steal powerful artifacts to help in his unholy quest. Galahad, Duncan's half-brother, is ready for the challenge, submitting to quite a transformation to help Arthur.

Let's start with Galahad. This poor guy seems more than a little brainwashed, ready to do anything and everything he can to impress Arthur. That includes sitting atop the Siege Perilous, a frightening throne made of human skeletons that would make the Iron Throne look like a child's toy chair. We don't immediately see what this does to Galahad, effectively building the anticipation for a startling reveal later on. It is made abundantly clear that this is a painful, horrifying experience that replaces Galahad's handsome exterior with the monstrous qualities he has within.

When we finally see this horrid creation, it's well worth the buildup. Artist Dan Mora has crafted a frightening and unholy visage for this once noble knight. It's like the throne melted him, flesh and armor alike into this walking scar. I don't think he has eyelids anymore, so he stares out with these ugly, bloodshot eyes. His armor, once gleaming, now looks more like bone or a shell, harsh and sharp all around him.

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Colorist Tamra Bonvillain gives Galahad an undead look and feel with dark greys and browns. Some reds and oranges peek through, showing parts where the flesh is still tender. It's like an exposed nerve. The whole thing looks so very painful. It's very fitting for a villain in Once & Future.

Bonvillain changes the tone of a scene when someone from Otherworld shows up. There are these interesting shades of blues and greens that pop up, giving the page a magical quality. It signifies a shift from reality to fantasy. It's like people or things from that realm have a strange and unnatural effect on this one.

The dynamic between Duncan and his grandmother, Bridgit, is noticeably cold. She kept quite a lot from him and he's not ready to forgive her, despite her yearning to help him in this quest. Bridgit basically dumped all this on Duncan and he's handled it surprisingly well. Granted, he'll probably need loads of therapy once this is all over. Much is said without words but with pained glances. You can see the rift between the two of them, even if they're standing right next to each other.

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Despite Bridgit's actions, you can't help but love her. She's a quirky, badass grandmother who fights monsters and speaks her mind. She definitely has the best lines of the book and she clearly knows more than she's letting on. Letterer Ed Dukeshire delivers these pithy pieces of dialogue in a way that gives them the most impact.

The final pages of Once & Future #7 redefine the comic. You might have thought you knew where it was going next, but writer Kieron Gillen pulls a wild twist that completely changes the game. Once & Future was already a solid action horror title. This chapter greatly expands its size and scope and I'm eager to see how this all plays out.

Grades:

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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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