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Image Comics’ ONCE & FUTURE #18, available now, is about to wrap up the current plot arc in the most dramatic of ways – with a hint of impending doom. To be fair, that is par for the course as far as this series is concerned. What with legends of old coming to life to terrorize the people of Britain.
It’s hard to believe that it has officially been 18 issues since Duncan was beautifully naive of the dangers around him. Now, he’s faced off against certain death on more than one occasion. Though nothing will challenge him like the next plot arc, from the looks of things.
Once & Future #18 wraps up the current plot arc, with Duncan, Bridgette, and Rose running through the Otherworld and trying to save the day. Again. It’s become a bit of a routine for them, which is perhaps the reason why it isn’t as shocking as it should be.
Now it’s time to see how the creative team for Once & Future (Gillen, Mora, Bonvillain, and Dukeshire) will manage to up the ante this time. The world is already darker and more intense than we could have ever imagined. At least, I certainly hadn’t been expecting to see a twisted version of King Arthur all those issues ago…
Hands down, Once & Future #18 is the most complex addition to this tale so far. Once again, Kieron Gillen is weaving a complicated and disturbing web. It’s what makes this series so successful – and just a little bit terrifying.
Needless to say, there’s quite a lot going on within this issue. At this point, the number of players on the board is quite large and getting larger by the day. That may not sound like a problem, but when each one of them has their own goals and is hoping to manipulate the legends of old…well, things get deadly.
It’s still fascinating to see how the real world and the Otherworld interact with one another. In fact, that intrigue has raised considerable, now that we’ve seen mortals cross that barrier. Gillen didn’t stop there, however. Now there’s a level of politics in this horror fantasy, and in a way that frightens me more than anything else he could have included.
All things considered, this was an excellent wrap-up for the current plot arc. It should be more than enough to get people returning when the next issue drops – in August. So not too much longer to wait.
Once & Future #18 is a visually dramatic issue, to say the least. Think about all of the art and drama from the last 17 issues, and then combine that into one. That’s what it feels like when reading the latest installment.
Dan Mora’s art style is perfect for this series as a whole and for the specific events that unfold here. The sense of movement and drama adds tension, and the particular way that Mora draws magic is so captivating. It makes for a series of dynamic pages.
Admittedly, Tamra Bonvillain’s colors work hard to make those pages feel all the more vibrant. Her colors have taken this series to an all-new level, and that’s no exception here. The first five pages, in particular, are pretty remarkable, as are the color palettes of a specific character (you’ll know the one when you read it).
Ed Dukeshire’s lettering helps to seal the deal, so to speak. You can really feel the sinister nature of the characters – human and monster alike. More importantly, the lettering flows so smoothly, even when there’s so much happening within a panel.
Once & Future #18 is a memorable and dramatic conclusion to the latest plot arc in this series. I still can’t believe that once again they have managed to up the ante, but that is exactly what was done here. Now to wait a few months and see what happens next.