ONCE & FUTURE #2
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: Boom Studios
Song: Medieval by Danger Mouse & Jemini feat. The Pharcyde
You know, I feel that it’s uncommon for a main character who’s aged and not super powered to be so heavily utilized in a story with such a high potential of action and adventure (sorry, old Cap). Bridgette McGuire exudes the hero aura from the body of a cheeky little old lady, and does so with that Ol’ Britannia class. Her grandson? Not so much, in fact, not at all and that’s okay. There’s plenty of time for him to shine, but right now, 2 issues in? It’s all about Gran.
The issue picks up right where no. 1 left off. Gran taking Duncan “hostage” as they search for the scabbard of Excalibur. We start off in Glastonbury. Forgive my Yankee ignorance, but apparently it’s far from London, given the rural state of the setting. Nothing like a leisurely drive in the countryside with Gran... holding a gun to Duncan’s back. The banter between Duncan and Gran is so seamless, I can easily see this comic being transferred into a live-action movie/show (Helen Mirren as Gran or nothing). Gillen gives us an incredible amount of frustration by way of Duncan, but Gran’s amount of nonchalance in the midst of his breakdown is nothing short of hilarious and signature to the dry British humor I’ve become accustomed to via television and movies (shout out to BBC). At the end of their back-and-forth, Gran gives us a foreshadow for things to come: “You’re going on a quest.”
Roll for perception.
They traverse the country side, guns in hand and arrive to an ancient tomb guarded by standing corpses dubbed “the Ladies of the Lake.” They find that the White Nationalists who stole the scabbard are attempting to resurrect King Arthur Pendragon. Unfortunately they are too late and he is risen. Decayed, glowing and a bit racist, Arthur rises from the sarcophagus and kills his liberators save for one: a woman whom Gran knows more about than she lets on. The mystery woman is named his Advisor and it’s reveled that the men whom Arthur just killed were meant to be the first of his army. What’s an undead king to do? “Rise, Gawain.” He raises the men who was just slain by his hand and the first of his army is born. Their first mission? Find Galahad. At this point, it’s safe to assume that the names of Knights in Arthur’s court have been passed on to people living now. Arthur’s newly found advisor states “I have a boy who would be a knight. My Galahad. He can bring the Grail to you.” And a bit more of the journey is revealed. The cliffhanger doesn’t hold back the snide caption bubbles from Gran and now we await issue 3, with anticipation for answers to the newly added questions left to us by Gillen.
Snarky comments aside, Gran carries with her a confidence in so much contrast to her nervous wreck of a Grandson, it makes you wonder if they are even related. Her adventurous youth still prevalent in her current personality and although she doesn’t move as fast, the mind is sharp and her wit is as quick as a whip. While she is uncouth, little nuggets of wisdom pop through panels every so often. By far, her dialogue is truly what sets her apart from other older wiser characters of comics past. In other words, this isn’t Aunt May. She is Gran and she will be addressed as such.
The story continues to pick up speed like the issue before it. Kieron Gillen seems unstoppable with his writing in this series thus far and the attention to maintaining Arthurian lore should be respected. Mystery fueled by the supernatural is a heavy tone in this comic and is matched with Mora’s art and Bonvillain’s colors so well. The transition during King Arthur’s resurrection felt and looked so fluid that, visually, Zombie King Arthur truly stole the show. As far as supernatural comics go, this comic is beautiful, plain and simple.
Just 2 issues in, another key player introduced, our true villain revealed, and even more mysteries to come. What else does Gillen have in store for us? What other strange creatures are our hero’s going to encounter? And who’s quest is this exactly? Gran’s? Or Duncan’s?