ONCE & FUTURE #14, available Wednesday from BOOM! Studios, is about to throw a few more complications Duncan’s way. You know, because he didn’t already have enough of those to deal with, what with being in two stories at once.
If there’s one thing we can take away from Once & Future, it’s that one should never raise the beings of legend and lore. Not in today’s day. They wreak all sorts of merry mayhem all over the place, and the more you know about them, the more danger you’re in.
When this series first started, Duncan was just an ordinary guy. An ordinary guy with a strange grandmother, but otherwise he seemed…boring. Now he’s found himself in the root of two stories, either of which would happily kill him given half a chance.
That is where Once & Future #14 begins, which should give readers plenty of ideas on how much worse things are going to get, before they get better.
We all remember just how anxiety-inducing that cliffhanger was from the last issue. So to pick up Once & Future #14 was a bit of a relief, if I’m being honest. The Green Knight making a sudden (and bloody) introduction towards the end left quite the impression.
The writing in this issue was shockingly intense. Kieron Gillen worked hard to elicit a reaction to what was happening and even succeeded in forming a bond based on pity for somebody fairly horrible. It’s impressive writing if a bit saddening.
Amidst the tension and the horror, there’s just a tiny bit of room for humor. Not much, granted. But it does help to ease things a bit. Credit for that goes to Gran, who naturally has seen and done so much more than this.
After that, it’s back to the horrifying drawing board, as it seems like countless monsters and villains are rising to the surface once again. It begs the question, how much can one family solve on their own? Are there other monster/legend hunters out there? Because now would be a good time for them to start doing their job.
If there’s one thing you can count on this series for, it’s having fantastic artwork. Once & Future #14 is no exception to that rule. While the imagery in this issue leans towards the more graphic side (nothing new there), the fantastical elements are strong as well.
The scenes mentioned above would have been interesting in written form, but complemented by artwork…they carry so much weight. The gore, the horror of death, and the beyond. It’s unavoidable here, and that fits the nature of this beast.
Dan Mora’s monsters are such memorable entities. They’re surreal and larger than life, and yet you can see see the origins of their stories within their bones. It’s quite effective and has almost become a trademark of the series.
Meanwhile, Tamra Bonvillain’s colors are so bold and vibrant. They’re brighter than one would typically expects in a series so full of horror, yet it is one of the many reasons why this series stands out. The decision to use a vibrant green hue to indicate when stories have come to life was such a great move. It adds this insidious nature and removes any delay in identifying the nature of enemies. Not to mention, it looks terrible and amazing, all in one.
Ed Dukeshire’s lettering is not to be forgotten either. His work is another key piece in what distinguishes man from legend. Not to mention, there’s something so extremely satisfying about the way he portrays screams and more.
Once & Future #14 is an issue worth waiting for, as the ante continues to climb. The legends of old are waking up, and it’s starting to look like one family of hunters will not be even remotely enough to keep up with it all.