‘Once & Future #26:’ Comic Book Review

Quick recap: Okay… so we have three Arthurs running about, each one thinking the others are usurpers and that they’re the one true king of Britain. To throw a metaphorical wrench into their plans, Bridgette roped in Robin Hood and his Merry Men to make things uncomfortable for the Arthurs. Oh, and using the play on the word, “merry,” it would appear that the passage of time can be shortened by joining the group.

Look, I’ve never doubted that Bridgette knew what she was doing, despite the mad turns that she’s taken Duncan and Rose (and us) on. We quite quickly learn her plan that just seems deranged enough to work. If you’re wondering just how wild this plan is, the steps involve freeing a god, traveling to the Underworld, diverting a mythical river’s waters of forgetting into a real river, and then exposing everyone to those waters, all before the new year. The only possible wrinkle that Bridgette can think of is if Robin Hood finds a true king to support. Enter the literal kingmaker of popular Arthurian mythology. Meanwhile, Mary/Elaine/Nimue continues to remind us that this fantastical story is still rooted in a family’s generational trauma.

Kieron Gillen remains the master of giving us answers in unexpected ways, but also then pulling the rug from under his characters and readers. This issue feels pretty breezy and, indeed, it does blow through several months of exposition pretty quickly without feeling rushed. It gives off training montage vibes in a major way.  As an ongoing series, Gillen has been able to keep expanding on his creation, but, over two years in, I do wonder if he has an endpoint in mind.

Dan Mora keeps the book looking great, and there are some fun character moments. Also noteworthy is the attention to detail to show the passage of time in the story. Tamra Bonvillain is always up to the task when it comes to making every page really sing, and her colorwork is superb as always. Ed Dukeshire shows us that consistency is just as important as excellence when it comes to lettering; the bar is always high with this guy!

Overall: With a plan in place, the introduction of an ancient trope may be the thing that sets our heroes between a rock and a hard place. Here’s to hoping that their heads aren’t on the chopping block.     

Creative Team: Kieron Gillen (writer), Dan Mora (artist), Tamra Bonvillain (colorist), Ed Dukeshire (letterer)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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