September 10, 2021

Review: Once & Future, Vol. 2: Old English

Once & Future, Vol. 2: Old English Once & Future, Vol. 2: Old English by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the second volume in a series that turns the Arthurian legends on their head. In this story, Arthur is an undead zombie monster returned from an alternate dimension to conquer Britain, and the protagonist Duncan McGuire and his saucy badass grandmother Bridgette are the only things standing in his way.

This volume is more of a straightforward action story, lacking the family drama that comprised much of the first volume. I preferred the former's emphasis on character myself, but having said that, this is an entertaining and fast-paced story. (If very bloody; at one point Bridgette wields a chainsaw against a monster and is covered in gore from head to toe.) What makes this volume--and indeed, the entire comic--stand out is the artwork. The artist, Dan Mora, puts together some excellent panels, with a sense of pace and spacing I don't often see. The colorist Tamra Bonvillain also does some very good work, with bright skies and colorful monsters.

The story also has some meta commentary on stories, as part of the worldbuilding deals with stories coming to life--in this case, the legend of Beowulf, Grendel and his mother, as all three make an appearance as actual monsters for Duncan and Bridgette to fight. There's also a clue as to the next Big Bad--a dripping-fanged creature named Bors, which makes me wonder if it's going to be a comics monster version of Boris Johnson. 

Altogether, this is a beautifully drawn, absorbing comic.

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