ONCE & FUTURE #16, available now from BOOM! Studios, throws Duncan and allies back into the fray, as the tales of old continue to warp and complicate an already wrought situation. For these are beings that do not belong in the world of men, as they say.
It’s hard to believe that it was only fifteen issues ago that Duncan first learned the truth about his family history. Well, some of the truth. I personally have no doubt that there is a lot that has been kept from him, even now.
The fact remains that it was just a short time ago that he went from being an ordinary guy to a guy that battles monsters in the dark. Normally family secrets aren’t quite so dangerous, not in the literal sense.
Ever since that moment, Duncan (with the help of others) has been battling. The legends of old are waking up, and they aren’t intending to treat the human world with any level of kindness. And thus, that is where Once & Future #16 begins.
The plot of Once & Future has been steadily getting more complex, introducing new characters, legends, and monsters with every passing issue. All of it building towards an inevitable confrontation, one that sincerely could go either way.
Once & Future #16, written by Kieron Gillen, continues to build that tension and anticipation. The last issue introduced more complications than most, and this issue did an excellent job of running with what was handed to it.
That isn’t to say that it didn’t introduce its own complications (it did), but it didn’t drop any of the threads that were formed in the last issue either, which I have to appreciate. Mostly because I (along with many other readers, I’m certain) am desperate to get answers for some of what is happening.
There is a strong sense of irony in this issue. Things coming back to bite (or potentially bite) characters for their previous actions or decisions. It’s tempting to say that this is highly satisfying, but well…it is happening on both sides, so not exactly ideal.
Though what is satisfying is seeing how it is all weaving together. We’re still missing out on several pieces, that much is obvious. But the larger picture is starting to come into focus. Further proof of all the careful planning that went into the writing for this entire series.
Once & Future #16 has yet more striking imagery to add to the series. Once again, I find myself wishing that there were prints available for some of these pages (namely page 8). They’re terrifying, bewitching, and striking all at once.
Dan Mora’s art style is so perfect for this world that is both real and fantasy. The monsters he draws are horrifying and beautiful in a combination that shouldn’t work – but really does. They’re larger than life in all the best ways, and all have a personality to their designs.
Admittedly, Tamra Bonvillain’s colors have a lot to do with all of that. Her colors are bright and amazing, adding a strong sense of fantasy to everything. Her blues and greens are divine, especially in this issue.
Ed Dukeshire’s lettering showcases the myriad of emotional and vocal responses available within this single issue. That and many other details really bring it all home in such a haunting manner.
Once & Future #16 is a bright and intense issue, bringing many plot arcs together for one dramatic issue. The best part? It looks like that dramatic element is going to continue building in the next issue, so there’s more to look forward to here.