By Jarred A. Luján — Once and Future is back this week with issue #2! If you read my review of #1, you probably know by now that one of my favorite parts of this book was the fresher approach to the tale of King Arthur, as well as the perfect dynamic of Duncan and his Gran.
Those things only improve in #2! The Arthur story gets ever newer, with some really interesting takes and twists upon his arrival in the book. This book just has such a unique feel to it, in that so much of it feels familiar but different at the same time. It almost feels like a familiar hallway in your house, but then one day all the doors are in different places. I’m so excited to keep delving deeper into this story, just to see where we wind up, but it has really nailed the alternate take aspect so far.
Duncan and Gran continue to be one of my favorite character duos in comics. While the two of them together regularly make for some really good laughs, what sells me the most on them is the way writer Kieron Gillen crafts their dialogue. So much of their relationship is established through little quips and exchanges, showing (without expressly telling, always good) a richer background, something you would expect from a grandmother who raised her grandson. It feels very authentic, and that element especially shines in the second issue.
Dan Mora really is just a brilliant artist, as well. Honestly, Arthur’s—er…arrival scene is just the best. The small details and differences peppered throughout the character adds such an intense feeling of gravity to the scene. This is going to be one of those issues where you go back and reread it to make sure you spot all the little things Mora does to nail the scene. This is true sequential art, expertly telling a vivid story with each new illustration, each new step. The arrival scene is also aided really well by a couple of solid lettering choices by Ed Dukeshire, whose work really helps to sell the intensity.
This book, however, is as much Tamra Bonvillain’s as it is anybody else’s. Tamra’s done plenty of work for all sorts of publishers, the Big 2 included, but the color work in Once and Future is some of my favorite color work ever. I spoke at length about the forest scene back in #1, and Bonvillain has only expanded that here. Every page Bovillain touches is better for it. There’s a lot of conversation in the comics industry on whether or not colorists’ names on covers helps to sell books, but I cannot imagine anyone seeing Bonvillain’s work here and not being sold on anything after.
Overall: Once and Future #2 is as good as the first issue that came before it. The hype is very real on this book and very, very justified. 10/10
Once and Future #2
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.