Written by Kieron Gillen, cover and interior art by Dan Mora, color by Tamra Bonvillain, lettering by Ed Dukeshire
Thanks to BOOM! Studios for providing a copy for review.
This volume collects the first six issues of BOOM! Studio’s series ONCE & FUTURE. If that name sounds familiar, you’ve probably read The Once and Future King by T.H. White, which is the King Arthur book (I can show off my knowledge that it is based on Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, but that doesn’t get me anywhere). I admit I didn’t catch the reference to King Arthur at first, but was drawn to the title by writer Kieron Gillen, who did excellent work on The Wicked + Divine as well as on the X-Men, and Thor books.
This series takes the King Arthur legend and grafts it onto today’s world, with what is essentially a plot to bring the old king back from the dead. Using the King Arthur tale is a unique way to tell a quest story. This is also the first story I can remember where one of the main heroes is an elderly woman. Gran and her son Duncan make an interesting pair, with Duncan playing the innocent fish out of water and Gran more than holding her own when the action sets off.
This book is tightly written. While some of the big reveals aren’t complete surprises, they feel earned because clues were given earlier in the book. There are also a few really funny parts (my favorite being when a character gets shot…which is a lot funnier than it sounds, trust me). There are also some standout action sequences.
Artist Dan Mora has a great sense of scale and action, which makes sense given the number of excellent superhero books he’s’s worked on. The characters are creatively designed and the action is clear. There is a fair amount of blood, but not an excessive amount.
If you are familiar with the King Arthur legend, you will really love the attention that has been put into this book. If you are unfamiliar with the source material, I think you will find yourself in Duncan’s shoes and can learn about it as he does. While this volume covers an entire arc, there’s an epilogue that teases where the story will go next.
ONCE & FUTURE VOL. 1 is now available.
Check back soon for my thoughts on the 7th, 8th, and 9th issues.
Have you read the series? What are your thoughts? Want to talk to me about this series? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!