ONCE & FUTURE #2 is out this Wednesday from Boom! Studios. The dark tale of a warped legacy continues, twisting the legend into something wholly new and deeply insidious.
Once & Future is Boom! Studios’ take on the legend of King Arthur, because apparently it is the year for King Arthur retellings. That being said, this series has one of the more unique takes on the legend than shown in recent times.
It is said that during Britain’s darkest times, King Arthur will return. But the legend never clarified is King Arthur comes back before or after the darkest times begins. Once & Future explores the possibility that the king of legend is perhaps the cause, rather than the savior.
It’s no surprise that Kieron Gillen has managed to come up with such an unusual take on the oft-retold tale. After all, this is the mind that brought us the spectacular Wicked + the Divine.
Once & Future #2 continues where the first issue left off; with Duncan being held at gunpoint by his grandmother. It’s quite the start to an issue, is it not? Well, the issue only goes up from there, though perhaps Duncan wouldn’t agree with that assessment.
Duncan and his grandmother are an exciting choice for protagonists in a series, yet they’re fascinating. And while we don’t know much about the forces that oppose them, it’s already becoming clear that there’s a lot that dear grandmother is holding back.
This issue does take some time to sit back and explain a few points, but don’t worry. It doesn’t spend the whole time focused on dialogue. In fact, a large chunk of the issue is spent showing us dark scenes while it pushes the plot forward.
The artwork for this issue is just as striking as the tale being told. The lines are bold and oddly foreboding, while the colors are rich and vibrant. Even the scenes full of dialogue have something interesting happening somewhere on each page.
Dan Mora is the artist that provided the linework for this issue, and there are a lot of positive things to be said about his work. The way he portrayed multiple figures of legend, for one thing. And the overall eerie tone he was able to convey into the work itself. There are some truly bone-chilling moments towards the end of this issue.
Meanwhile, Tamra Bonvillain provided the colors, a fact that is clear right away. Her distinctive coloring brought the artwork to impressive heights, adding depth and elegance. Her mastery of colors showcased well here, but especially in a few panels in particular (she does have a way with ancient structures).
Finally, Ed Dukeshire was the letterer for this issue. And he brought both pieces – the writing and the artwork – together into one cohesive tale. He balanced the amount of words on the page perfectly, and his delicate touch shines throughout some of the more intense moments.
Once & Future #2 is as dark as the first issue, slowly unveiling the truth behind the legend. The bone-chilling moments will linger with the readers, while not being quite enough to overwhelm our curiosity. There is more to this story, and we can’t wait to see how it pans out.