September 25, 2022

Review: Once & Future, Vol. 4: Monarchies in the UK

Once & Future, Vol. 4: Monarchies in the UK Once & Future, Vol. 4: Monarchies in the UK by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the latest volume in the ongoing series of Monster Hunters (as opposed to "Monarchies," I guess--heh heh) in the UK, where the timeless tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table come to life in a monstrous, gory, undead fashion. Our protagonists, the badass manipulative grandmother Bridgette, Duncan, her hapless and until just recently kept in the dark grandson, and his girlfriend Rose have all been dragged into the Otherworld--a very bloody and nasty version of Faerie--along with the entire country.

Here, stories live and are as likely to chomp your head off as inspire you, and William Shakespeare managed to capture Beowulf inside the pages of a spell rather than letting it rampage through the countryside. Bridgette, Duncan and Rose are trying their best to survive, and also save all the people residing in Bridgette's care home, while Undead Zombie Arthur and Merlin are preparing for their own fight against the pretend King, the challenger Lancelot. The world is expanded a bit, incorporating pieces of other mythologies like the Greek Gorgons (and at the end, Robin Hood, who Bridgette frees to fight both Arthurs).

One thing I wish is that the family drama of the first volume was followed up on in this one. We still don't know what Bridgette and her daughter Mary's (Duncan's mother) issues are. Also, Rose is pretty much overlooked here, aside from her insisting on going to Bath to find her parents. Having said that, the consistency in the artwork, with artist Dan Mora and colorist Tamra Bonvillain, continues in this volume. The panels are again well placed and thought out and the colors vibrant. The pages look terrific. This story is a bit of a setup for the final volume (which I have pre-ordered) but it also stands well enough on its own.

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