‘Once & Future #12:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Quick recap: Well, the monsters just keep coming. No sooner have the McGuires dispatched Grendel, but who should come ripping in but his mother. Mama ain’t pleased that her child was disarmed and will be seeking bloody vengeance.

Unfortunately for the McGuires, vengeful monsters don’t exactly wait for their day in court to air their grievances. With only the McGuires standing between Grendel’s mom and the retirement community, Bridgette and Duncan must face this threat together and make some strange bedfellows. Merlin’s plan comes one step closer to fruition. Thus, it appears that the “Old English” arc doth endeth with some extremely intriguing dangling story threads.

Honestly, I can’t believe I slept on Kieron Gillen for this long. If this series is anything to go on, his mind is a wonderland that I want to live in. The way that Gillen updates, reinvents, and reimagines his subject matter is beyond brilliant. Updates to the King Arthur story are a dime a dozen, but they traditionally fall into two camps: either being a pseudo-academic take on the mythos, or they’re basically camp, sometimes unintentionally. Gillen’s take on the revered legend and his liberties with it to reflect current topics is why #StoriesMatter; they show that, sometimes, the best presentation of a sacred cow is not to take it too seriously, but to also back up the wacky stuff with plenty of material to chew on.

Man, Dan Mora is a sick man, and I mean that it the best way possible. If his Grendel design was kind of Swamp Thing meets lotsa teeth, his design for Grendel’s mom is even more disturbing, We’re talking stringy, matted hair, serpent body, triple-jaws… it’s all bloody disgusting, and oh so good. Mora doesn’t just design grossness, he positions her in some really unsettling poses, too. And just to remind you that he can do pretty also, we get some fine beefcake Duncan. Tamra Bonvillain’s colorwork is consistently glorious. I’ve come to subconsciously register whenever we’re in a “story” by the lighting, and it’s become redundant to tell us that we’re in the Otherworld now because the consistency of her colorwork just builds that into the lore. While ample credit goes to the aforementioned Gillen, Mora, and Bonvillain parties for crafting this book, credit also goes to Ed Dukeshire for making it exciting to read. Dukeshire’s not just putting speech bubbles in, he’s selling you on the vibe and tone of each panel too.

Overall, with the close of “Old English,” it appears that we’re one step closer to Merlin’s plan of ushering in a “new England.”


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



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