By Jarred A. Luján — I know Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora are pretty big deals in comics, but neither of those names are what first got me excited about Once and Future. Holly, from Boom! Studios, actually tweeted out a page from the book, and it was so funny and gorgeous, that I was immediately sold on it. The creators being who they are was an afterthought...the single page was that good. I preordered it that day.
That’s a big testament to a comic, especially one with such established and talented creators, but that’s the thing about Once and Future #1: it is literally that good from page to page. It sells you on it immediately.
Let’s just get this out of the way: Gran is the best character and midway through the first issue, I am fully prepared to fight for her in the streets. There’s an element of her that makes her so genuine, and she reminds me of my own tough-as-nails grandmothers on either side of my family. She is the absolute best, and she alone makes me SUPER HYPED for the next issue.
Duncan is also fantastic. Awkward and a klutz, Duncan is the perfect complement to his Gran. The thing about Duncan that I sincerely appreciate is how well Mora captures his facial expressions. So much of Duncan is in the face when he messes up, and Mora nails them, leading to some of the parts of the book that made me laugh the hardest. This is a pairing of characters that is on a Crowded level of perfectly-crafted individuals meeting an ideal pairing.
Tamra Bonvillain is one of my favorite colorists in comics. Every time she’s on a page, she brings a special quality to it. Together, she and Dan Mora really create standout visuals with this book. The forest scenes with Dan’s brilliant line art meeting Bonvillain’s pink and purple skies featured some of my favorite artwork to just sit and look at in a long time. They’re subtle when they need to be, and aggressively brilliant when it’s time.
Once and Future’s plot, from what we can tell now, is definitely a play on the legend of King Arthur. It diverts it, leading to something we often don’t talk much about. There’s a bunch of big plot set ups that are seemingly fresh takes on a story that feels done far too frequently, leaving so many open and exciting things to come. The thing is, though, with this creative team and this pair of characters, you could set them anywhere and it would absolutely feel like comics-making at its best.
Overall: Gillen and Mora have something very, very special on their hands and I am absolutely dying to already read issue two. Do yourself a favor and put this on your pull list IMMEDIATELY. 10/10
Once and Future #1
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dan Mora
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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Jarred A. Luján makes comics, studies existential philosophy, and listens to hip-hop too loudly. For bad jokes and dog pictures, you can follow him on Twitter.