Duncan’s upbringing has left him outside the story. Now that he finds himself in the center of it, can he take up his role and face Arthur? Find out in Once & Future #6 from BOOM! Studios.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 22, 2020
Previously in Once & Future: Duncan learns that his whole family – which he didn’t know he had – is tied up in a modern version of Arthurian legend. The Fisher King, now dead, was his grandfather. Elaine is Bridgette’s daughter – and Duncan’s mother. With the undead Arthur loosed, England could be dragged into the Otherworld, unless someone can stop it, and that someone may be Duncan. Bridgette gives her life to get him passage to the Grail, which he gets first, but it cannot cross over so he cannot use it to save Gran. He’s been paying attention, though, and thinks he has another idea which just might save her.
TAKING HOLD OF THE STORY AND CHANGING IT
Once & Future #6 opens with Duncan carrying Gran as he and Rose return to Bath Abbey. Rose has a document she shows to the police who let them past. She stands vigil with the candle as she did before, and Duncan goes through. All the while, Bridgette tells him he can’t do this, he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He can tell where he’s probably going, though. There’s only one dark, ominous castle in the area.
Arthur is peeved, and Elaine doesn’t have an explanation for how Percival (Duncan) could have gotten the Grail. Duncan explains that Bridgette shot herself in order to become a surrogate Fisher King, and I love Elaine’s retort that, “Of course. She’s shot everyone else, so why not herself?” This rings so true.
Arthur sends undead minions at Duncan, who cuts them to pieces with the sword he yields – Excalibur, which Arthur does not recognize, though he is drawn to it. He offers to give them the belt and scabbard if they will give him the sword. Duncan won’t make this trade – he promised to return the blade. But Bridgette is willing to tell him. He holds up his end of the bargain, and Bridgette is healed. And she goes on talking, talking about Galahad and about his father – Lancelot. At this, knowing her Arthurian stories, Elaine knows she needs to leave, but Galahad wants to stay here. Buying yet more time, Bridgette throws the scabbard out a window.
Chaos ensues, for a time, but the portal opens, and Bridgette and Duncan return to our world. Duncan returns the sword. He may be accepting of his role as the new generation of monster hunters, but he cannot quite forgive Bridgette yet. But for a nice bit of closure, the Questing Beast comes by again.
The art of Once & Future #6 is simply lovely. The characters are clear and whether they’re heroic, dying, or outright villainous, they are expressive and consistent. Where this book truly shines is in the settings, especially in the Otherworld. It looks like dark mirror of the legendary past. The twisted, leafless trees look almost sinister. The colors are vivid, but not the colors of the normal world. Inside the castle, the light is eerie and the shadows strong. The action scenes are glorious, though somewhat gory. The flow of the panels moves the action along smoothly and crisply.
I really like the lettering as well. That’s the thing with good lettering – you don’t always notice it unless you make a point to look. It is clear and easy to follow. I like using a slightly smaller size for Gran’s voice when she’s dying. Arthur has his own font, slightly different, slightly rougher. Everything works together so wonderfully.
BOTTOM LINE: A STRONG AND STUNNING END TO THE ARC
Once & Future #6 is a powerful end of this arc, and I am so happy that this book is an ongoing. The horror take on Arthurian legend is fresh and interesting, and the characters we’ve met do not shy from taking drastic actions, which increases the drama. Some humor balances out the horror just enough to let us catch our breaths before the next awful thing happens. This is a terrific book all around.
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Once & Future #6
Now that he’s part of the story, can Duncan twist things enough to change them?