Arthur and Galahad are causing trouble again, but who stole the original Beowulf manuscript…and why? Find out in Once & Future #8 from BOOM! Studios.

ONCE & FUTURE #8

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 24, 2020

Previously in Once & Future: King Arthur is in the Otherworld and still wants to return to the real world. He asks for a knight to go on a quest for him, and Galahad volunteers – but has to face the Siege Perilous first – with drastic results. Duncan has taken up the mantle of dealing with otherworldly problems, and Rose has embraced her ability to do divinations. He is not, however, talking to Bridgette, his gran, unless it’s absolutely necessary. And necessary it is – something is going on after dark in the British Museum. Sure enough, a transformed Galahad shows up and they have a big fight over an old helmet. At the same time in the British Library, someone does a smash and grab on the manuscript of Beowulf.

WHEN LEGENDS MEET…AND CONNIVE

Once & Future #8 opens at Sutton Hoo at night, where Gran hints that Duncan should admit she was right (although this may come back to haunt her). The ground is littered with scented candles as though some ritual was performed there. And fancy sandalwood candles, no less; Bridgette is intrigued. But she finds the whole situation strange, but not the same sort of strange they usually have to deal with. This was a human ritual, not one of Otherworlders.

Back at Camelot in the Otherworld, Galahad is there, minus his legs. He’s in great pain, but Arthur assures him he won’t die. Then someone arrives unannounced, punching out a skeletal guard and calling out that he’s looking for the King. He announces himself as Beowulf. In the best of classic traditions, they fight until another mysterious figure, elderly and skinny, tells them to stop. He shows Galahad to Beowulf, and tells him that a “monster and a mother” are on the hunt. Beowulf is in, and if you’re familiar with his story, you can see how this fits. Arthur is puzzled – he doesn’t see how Beowulf fits into his story. And, if you haven’t guessed it, the skinny old man introduces himself as Merlin.

Duncan and Bridgette pick up as much evidence as they can at Sutton Hoo, snipe at each other a little, and decide to touch base with Rose to see if she has any new information. In the distance, hidden by trees, Elaine watches them go and announces that they’ve left, then throws divining sticks which spell out the command to await contact. They also give her the message that Galahad lives.

Duncan calls Rose and she works her divining with pins. One points to a location near Sutton Hoo, and she casts again. It lands vertically, right on the highway where Duncan and Bridgette are currently driving.

ANOTHER BUSY NIGHT WITH A WHIFF OF MAGIC

Once & Future #8 opens with Duncan and Bridgette, and we can see some subtle changes in them. Duncan sports a bit of facial hair as though he has been too busy chasing down legendary creatures of late to be able to spend time shaving. He can still be surprised by new things, but he no longer is in panic mode, running around from one catastrophe to the next without a clue. Bridgette, on the other hand, is facing something new to her and she is less cocky than she was before.

All the most cool panels happen the Otherworld. I like that Arthur and Merlin both have their own styles of lettering, contrasting with Galahad and Beowulf. Arthur and Beowulf seem to be wreathed in magic, and it manifests differently for each of them. I love the rich colors of the Otherworld. Overall the palette is cool, but Galahad’s blood figures prominently and the warm red is a great contrast. Arthur continues to be rather terrifying, and I like that he’s not just a skeleton, he’s a skeleton that appears to have some chunks of flesh or organs. It may not make biological sense, but for a touch of body horror, it’s effective.

BOTTOM LINE: ACTION PACKED, THE PLOT STARTS TO UNFOLD

Once & Future #8 wastes no time getting things rolling. There’s still time for character development, but Elaine and Arthur are setting things in motion so fast that there isn’t much room for them to think and figure things out. The resulting urgency makes for an exciting read.


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Once and Future #8

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An Exciting Read

The conflict between real world and Otherworld continues with new pieces added to the chess board.

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About Author

By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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