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Once And Future 9 Main

"Once & Future #9" 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
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 15th, 2020


King Arthur's forces are growing, joined by Merlin and Beowulf. Brigette and Duncan have to put aside their differences to put a stop to the monsters and madness, but that's not going to fix the rift between them.

Duncan's character arc in Once & Future has been absolutely riveting. We've seen versions of this before, where a bumbling normal guy suddenly finds himself fighting back supernatural creatures through some sort of destiny. Writer Kieron Gillen elevates this with some deep moments that speak volumes. Some of these don't even show Duncan, yet we learn so much about him and his relationship to Brigette.

A great example of this is when Bridgette returns to the old folks’ home and the others there ask about Duncan and what she's been up to. It's not what she says that's important; it's what is left unsaid. It's also what shows on her face. Brigette is torn because she did what she needed to do in order to protect England and the world, but it may have cost her relationship with Duncan. In another time, she might have brushed this off, but now she's feeling its effects. She's changed.

Click images to enlarge

I will never get tired of Dan Mora's artwork. I've been a fan since his work on Hexed. He brings so much life to every scene, whether it's these personal moments like the one mentioned above or the intense action sequences. The people feel real. They show genuine emotion. That further invests us with their lives and the danger they're put through.

Just look at the battle between Duncan and Beowulf. On one side you have a seemingly regular guy, albeit with a massive chip on his shoulder and a boat load of determination. On the other is a man made of pure muscle who is also on fire and screaming. That's quite a matchup.

Beowulf is a monster, although he pales in comparison to the sickly and terrifying Merlin. He's like a walking skeleton or a harbinger of death. Colorist Tamra Bonvillain highlights the red veins on his arms and the blood on his scythe to really drive that home. There's a pink / purplish cloud that seems to hang around him, like your eyes can't quite focus on his unsettling visage. This is not the wise old wizard you've heard in stories. This is someone that Voldemort would stay away from.

Click images to enlarge

These colors seem to pop up whenever something from myth and legend appears. When Brigette is at the home, the palette is more normalized, like things are back to your everyday experiences. This change serves as a reminder of the strange powers we're dealing with here.

Letterer Ed Dukeshire uses an inverted style for Merlin's speech with black word balloons and white font. This adds to his otherworldly nature, reminding us that we should give him a wide berth, even in the halls of King Arthur's castle.

Once & Future started as an interesting and frightening take on the legend of King Arthur. It has since grown to be so much more, with seemingly all of the western myths at its disposal, albeit with a horror bend. It's like Once Upon a Time meets Supernatural with a bunch more monsters.


Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
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Art: fivestars
Overall: 4.5 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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