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Once & Future #1

Once & Future, Vol. 1: The King is Undead

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When a group of Nationalists use an ancient artifact to bring a villain from Arthurian myth back from the dead to gain power, retired monster hunter Bridgette McGuire pulls her unsuspecting grandson Duncan, a museum curator, into a world of magic and mysticism to combat the deadly secrets of England’s past that threaten its very future.

New York Times bestselling writer Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Star Wars) and Russ Manning Award-winning artist Dan Mora (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Klaus) explore the mysteries of the past, the complicated truths of our history and the power of family to save the day…especially if that family has secret bunkers of ancient weapons and decades of experience hunting the greatest monsters in Britain’s history!

Collects Once & Future #1-6.

160 pages, Paperback

First published March 25, 2020

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About the author

Kieron Gillen

1,051 books1,698 followers
Kieron Gillen is a comic book writer and former media journalist.

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5 stars
1,056 (30%)
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3 stars
656 (19%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 540 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,782 reviews69k followers
January 8, 2021
Once & Future does something extremely unexpected by turning your grandma into a chainsmoking, gun-toting, monster fighting, badass.

description

That? Honestly, that should be enough to pull anyone into the story.
But just in case you're still on the fence, Kieron Gillen also takes Arthurian legend and turns it on its head.
For example, the good King Arthur is back from the dead but this time around he looks like a reject from The Black Cauldron.

description

For the first volume of a completely new series, this had an amazingly good story arc and fantastic characters. A lot of times with these new titles, I feel like they come off as incomplete or sort of like a rough sketch. This one felt like it was fully formed.

description

Anyway, Duncan is this somewhat bumbling guy who gets dragged into a real-life Dungeons & Dragons quest by his Grandmother. <--an assy old broad who recently escaped from her nursing home.

description

I don't want to ruin the journey for you but this is one that you should definitely get off your ass and check out.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,423 reviews12.7k followers
March 30, 2020
Egads - it’s been so long since I read a half-decent Kieron Gillen comic I’d given up hope that he’d ever produce another one again! But thankfully he has with the best artist working at Boom at the moment, Dan Mora - this is Once & Future, Volume 1: The King is Undead.

So it’s a subversive take on the King Arthur myth by way of Brendan Fraser’s first Mummy movie with shades of The Last Crusade (one scene in particular is a near-identical rip off). In a premise germane to our Brexit times, British Nationalists seek to resurrect the once and future king in an attempt to restore England for the English (the legend goes that Arthur will return when the English people need him most - no-one saw him during WW1 and WW2 but he’s probably coming back to save us from this latest pandemic, right...). Except Arthur turns out to be a super-powerful xenophobic zombie psychopath intent on ethnically cleansing the land - d’oh! It’s up to an elderly monster hunter, Bridgette McGuire, and her rugby-playing academic grandson Duncan to stop him and get the Grail before he does.

I really enjoyed most every scene with zombie Arthur, particularly the spectacular resurrection scene and his grisly way of finding out whether your blood was “pure”. The character of King Arthur has never been more appealing to me than here as a villain - it seems obvious to do and yet nobody’s done it before. Gillen reimagines aspects of the mythos in interesting ways like the haunting ladies of the lake and the inventive use of candles.

I’ve been an admirer of Dan Mora’s art since his work on Grant Morrison’s Klaus books (and to a lesser extent Dennis Hopeless’ WWE comics). If you’re a fan of Batman artist Greg Capullo then you’ll love Mora’s art too - their styles are very similar though Mora’s human faces are less rounded than Capullo’s; sharper, which I prefer.

The Questing Beast’s design was fantastic as were the changing appearances of Arthur. I mentioned Brendan Fraser’s first Mummy movie because, in part, the way the Mummy went from a skeleton to slowly becoming more human is how Arthur develops as the story goes on. His organs start to grow back, his flesh starts to appear on his bones, etc. It’s very cool.

Tamra Bonvillain’s colours beautifully complement Mora’s art on every page. I especially liked how the light changed when the characters ventured into the magical realm - it’s a really clever visual cue to signal shifts in the story.

That said, none of the other characters besides Arthur really grabbed me. Duncan is your fairly bland heroic protagonist though Bridgette was a fun, cantankerous old coot. Rose, the obvious love interest, wasn’t pointless but she didn’t feel like much of a character and the McGuire family stuff didn’t interest me much. The ending is a bit rushed too with Duncan falling into his new role rather too easily while Arthur suddenly descends into your average easily manipulated bad guy, basically to save time. It’s all wrapped up a tad neatly and overall I felt the storyline was too generic in structure - goodies vs baddies chasing macguffin.

It’s not bad though and this first book is a promising start to a series I’ll definitely be returning to - I’d say Once & Future is worth a look for readers looking for some fantasy horror with their action. If you enjoyed this one I would also recommend checking out the Hellboy storyline in Darkness Calls/The Wild Hunt/The Storm and the Fury for more Arthurian/horror hijinks.
Profile Image for Chad.
7,290 reviews854 followers
May 4, 2020
I'm a sucker for Arthurian legends so this drew me right in. This builds off the idea that King Arthur will one day return in Britain's darkest hour. Well, what if he was actually the cause of that darkest hour? Enter Bridgette (Buffy if she made it to old age) and her clueless grandson, Duncan, as they try and stop Arthur's return. This was an absolute blast. Bridgette is hilarious as a kickass Gram.

The art by Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain is magnificent. Something about it reminded me of a Don Bluth cartoon like Dragon's Lair. These two were firing on all cylinders.

Received a review copy from Boom and NetGalley. All thoughts are my own and in no way influenced by the aforementioned.
Profile Image for Sean Gibson.
Author 6 books5,652 followers
April 23, 2020
King Arthur stories were a bedrock of my childhood (Gwen Gross’s Knights of the Round Table in particular). They not only informed my story-loving sensibilities, but my character. They influenced the first “book” 8-year-old me wrote AND illustrated (the much-ballyhooed Cheesecalibur), not to mention that The Camelot Shadow tomfoolery.

And so, while I’m naturally inclined to be favorably disposed toward Arthurian tales, I’m also always curious about whether the storyteller(s) will take a traditional approach or apply their own spin and, if the latter, how they’ll come at it.
Gillen—who thinks far too deeply about fantasy and stories in the best possible way—and Mora take a combo platter approach, faithfully rendering some facets of the sprawling legend and adding a few twists (like a gun-toting, monster-hunting granny and her rugby-playing virgin of a grandson).

Mora’s art is great—well rendered, kinetic, and appropriately moody when needed. Gillen, though, leans too heavily on expository dialogue over the course of the first few issues, which gets frustrating. “Gee, Grandma, why is this gigantic mythical creature suddenly chasing me?” “Well, sonny, it’s because”—BLAM! (blasts said mythical creature)—“that creature, who is called the Questing Beast, signifies that something bad is going to happen. This is consistent with what we know from Arthurian lore. What is going to happen likely involves a [SPOILERS], so we will now need to go do a series of unusual things that I want you to accept at face value without question.” “No way, Gran! This is ridiculous. I…okay, fine—I’ll comply because, if I don’t, the plot won’t move forward.”

But, once we get past that phase of the book, the action ratchets up and we get a satisfying mix of Arthurian lore and Indiana Jones-esque adventure.

I’d rate the first half of the book a 3, the second half a 4, so we’ll even out at 3.5 and round up to 4. Math is hard—let’s go shopping.

A humongous thank you to my Loquacious buddy read partner! I’m penning myself into your schedule for Vol. 2 (penning being much more indelible than penciling, of course).
Profile Image for Paul.
2,306 reviews20 followers
January 26, 2020
I absolutely loved this one! If you’re a sucker for the Arthurian myth (like I am) you’ll probably love it too... (unless you’re a big ol’ racist, of course, in which case you’ll probably hate it).

This is a genuinely new take on the Arthurian myth with lots of twists and turns and great artwork to boot. It’s paced like a great action movie and would probably make a great feature film (just in case there are any movie producers reading this). I’m really hoping that ‘to be continued...’ at the end of the epilogue actually comes to pass because I am SO up for more of this!
Profile Image for Dennis.
649 reviews252 followers
December 19, 2021
Oh man, I’m disappointed. Mainly in myself, but also somewhat in the book.

This started pretty great. With one of the most badass female characters I have seen in quite some time and the promise of a great adventure. But then it got too caught up in its own love for mythology and I had this feeling of being left out.

For people well-versed in Arthurian legend this is going to be great fun, I suppose. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those. I knew what I was getting into, kind of. After all this is the story of King Arthur returning to Britain to fix it. Only that he’s a monstrous racist that needs to be stopped by our heroes. So, yeah, Percival, Lancelot, Excalibur, the Grail; all here. But I had hoped that this would work without really knowing too much about them. It did not. It felt rushed and disjointed, and like people were just chasing after MacGuffins to keep the plot moving to the next grandiose action scene.

To me this was like standing around at a party and listening to two people that are only talking in inside jokes that you don’t get. You try for a little, but then you realize that it’s really their only means of communication and you would be better served to just move on and talk to someone that is more like you.

The awesome character of retired monster hunter Bridgett McGuire carried this for quite a while. But not until the end. And while the artwork is quite good, I just don’t enjoy looking at skeletons and most of the color palette wasn’t my jam either.

Alas.

But that particular grandma is truly awesome.

description

2021 Hugo nominee for Best Graphic Story or Comic. I read all the ones that sounded interesting. Unfortunately, neither was a true hit with me. But sometimes that's how it goes. Which reminds me, I got myself the Slaughter-House Five graphic novel adaptation recently. Maybe I should read that instead.
________________
2021 Hugo Award Finalists

Best Novel
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Network Effect by Martha Wells
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Best Novella
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
Finna by Nino Cipri
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Best Novelette
Burn or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super by A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine Issue 34: May/June 2020)
I Sexually Identify as an Attack Helicopter by Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
• The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine Issue 35: July/August 2020)
Monster by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 160)
• The Pill by Meg Elison (from Big Girl)
Two Truths and a Lie by Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)

Best Short Story
Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse by Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine Issue 32: January/February 2020)
A Guide For Working Breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, Solaris)
Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer (Tor. com)
The Mermaid Astronaut by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
Open House on Haunted Hill by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots 6/15/20)

Best Series
• The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
• The Interdependency by John Scalzi
• The Lady Astronaut Universe by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
• October Daye by Seanan McGuire
• The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Best Graphic Story or Comic
Die, Vol. 2: Split the Party, written by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles
Ghost-Spider, Vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over, written by Seanan McGuire, art by Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosi Kämpe
Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 2: Edge of Everything, written by G. Willow Wilson, art by Christian Ward
Monstress, Vol. 5: Warchild, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda
Once & Future, Vol. 1: The King is Undead, written by Kieron Gillen, iIllustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Ed Dukeshire
Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings
Profile Image for Drew Canole.
1,068 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2022
What a fun series! I've kept up to date on each new issue now, so up to Issue 29.

I'm not a King Arthur guy, just never got into the myths or the billions of creative works based on it. This was the first one that got me thinking about it. I was scrolling through Wikipedia looking things up while I was going.

Now, this doesn't have a whole lot to do with the original stories/legends and they also bring in a few other tales in the mix too. The main takeaway I had was how powerful, influential stories do end up changing our real world.

It's so nice to get a monthly title illustrated by someone as good as Dan Mora. Gillen gives him so many fantastic things to draw.

It's certainly a book that will be worth revisiting once it's completed.
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,510 reviews6,636 followers
August 29, 2020
I really enjoyed this book. I have a slight bias as I grew up on the Sword in the Stone and Arthurian legends. I did enjoy the twist of the darker side of the legend.

Both the artwork and story was great. I also really liked the characters as well. The tough as nails grandma, and the innocent "perfect" night. In another personal note I thought it was great to have an British Asian lady in the story as well. As much as I want the story to move forward I hope this relationship works out as well.

A great first volume, enjoyed everything about it, and I think this series have even more potential to yet to be reached. Every chapter if the book starts with the issue cover, in the cover gallery, there are fill page spread of all the varient covers for issue 1 and 2.
Profile Image for Artemy.
1,041 reviews948 followers
January 25, 2020
This is Kieron Gillen back in his fun mode. A delightful fast-paced story revolving around english Arthurian history and mythology, great characters, gorgeous art by Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain. It's not the most deep, thoughtful or formalist of Gillen's books, but not every single one has to be, right? This one's just for fun.
Profile Image for Lukas Sumper.
115 reviews25 followers
January 15, 2021
This is Kieron Gillen riffing on the king arthur mythos in a fun / light hearted way! I don't consider that to be a spoiler, in fact people ideally should've read about the knights of the round table before picking this up, as it builds on it. It's a really sneaky cool idea to use a public domain story like this and dress it up in this modern way.

Still.. in its core it is a simple monster hunting story done multiple times somewhere else, but then again I could also read these over and over to no end for some reason.

Solid from beginning to the end(?) (Need to get the next Volume.) 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Profile Image for Alexander Peterhans.
Author 2 books154 followers
March 26, 2020
Gillen lets his hair down, clearly having a lot of fun telling a romp that deals with England's overly romantic view of its own past.

A group of deranged nationalists (is there any other kind?) want to resurrect long dead King Arthur (or something that passed itself off as such), to take England (and by definition, the rest of the UK..?) back from un-English influences. The undead horror that is brought back to life has very strict ideas about what it means to be English -you better not have Anglo-Saxon ancestors, to start with. Luckily, retired OAP monster basher Bridgette McGuire is there to put an end to all this silliness, accompanied by her grandson Duncan, who has no idea about his gran's past.

It's a fun adventure, with a good dose of wry humour. There is also a serious undertone about what identity means, and how far it should inform our actions. One of the aspects I found most intriguing is the idea that stories are alive, and try to take a hold of people, sort of distorting reality around them to fit a narrative. Not a new idea by any means, but incorporated in a light way.

After the dourness of DIE, it's fun to see Gillen having.. well, fun.

(Kindly received an ARC from Boom! Studios through Netgalley)
Profile Image for Subham.
2,379 reviews56 followers
April 21, 2022
Wow what a read!

I love Arthurian legends and this does that, it is predicted that King Arthur will come back in the darkest hour of Britain but what if he is the cause of that? What then and thus begins the story and its the fabled hero story when Duncan, a man on a date with a beautiful woman named Rose suddenly comes to know from his grandma that those legends are real and well they are attacking them and thus begins survival quest as they 3 have to navigate monsters and what not and also something with Galahad and the secret of his family.

It was a pure blast to read through it and I love the inclusion of Rose here and seems like her character will play a big part and also the end tease omg! Plus mora's art is to die for its so good.. each page is a marvel to look at!
Profile Image for Lashaan Balasingam.
1,323 reviews4,621 followers
May 2, 2021
An original, violent, and action-packed adventure creatively drawing upon Arthurian mythology to introduce us to new threats and unlikely heroes. An unforgiving choppiness in the narration/artwork leaves an impression of emptiness as the story unfolds at a breakneck pace. However, the bombastic and sharp artwork, on top of the charismatic granny, makes for an entertaining and engrossing read.

Yours truly,

Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer
Official blog: https://bookidote.com/
Profile Image for Aj Waran.
35 reviews1 follower
January 6, 2023
This was an absolute awesome adventure. The characters were great and the art was perfect. The plot was interesting with great pacing and momentum. The only nitpick I have is there are a few convenient plot devices but besides that it is pretty much almost perfect as an original fantasy comic.
Profile Image for Judah Radd.
1,096 reviews12 followers
June 30, 2020
For my full interview with Kieron Gillen, follow this link: https://youtu.be/np9kcC1ruWU

Very very interesting.

This is Arthur legend in the modern era, completely twisted into something new.

Also, there’s a badass, monster slaying grandma in the mix.

I really dug it! Awesome art team of Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain, with masterful storytelling from Mr Kieron Gillen.

I’ll definitely be following this title.
Profile Image for Kadi P.
740 reviews92 followers
January 2, 2021
*Pre-reading thoughts included below*

Absolutely fantastic! Not only was it creative, beautiful, and engaging, but it was also really fun!

Just the concept itself was pure genius and I was and still am totally in love with it. Every way in which they played on the King Arthur legends and stories soothed my Arthurian-loving soul.

All of the characters were dynamic and interesting without being too detailed. Duncan was extremely likeable (and extremely 😍😍 if you don’t mind me saying so). The complexity and messiness of the storyline as it goes on only serves to solidify just how much I like Duncan for his resolve and honourableness when faced with the option to act dishonourably.

Without a doubt the star of this comic was the art. Fantastically and beautifully illustrated by the talented Dan Mora and with the most exquisite colours that brought it to life by colorist Tamra Bonvillain. It really hit different because of the illustration.

An absolute joy to read. Over far too soon and I definitely look forward to reading more of this in vol 2!

Pre-reading thoughts: 7th June 2020
I'm a liiittle bit sceptical about this one. It doesn't sound that great from the synopsis and the mixed reviews make it a little questionable but I am a sucker for Arthurian mythology, Dan Mora's art and someone recommended it to me (shoutout to Chad)... Maybe I'll enjoy, maybe I won't get around to it anytime soon; if you follow me you know by now that my comic reading is unpredictable and erratic to say the least😂
Profile Image for Robert.
1,368 reviews94 followers
September 20, 2020
I might be alone among my GR friends in not really loving this.

The novelty of a snarky, chain-smoking and heat-packing granny wears off fairly quickly and the gormlessness of her grandson Duncan kinds of grates after a while, as well.

I did enjoy seeing Arthur as a not-so-nice guy, though I think it would have been more interesting if his character design were less clear-cut monstrous.


Guess he left the shining armour in his other castle?

I may check out the next volume as I did love the art, but in terms of story this one has a long way to go to impress me (most unlike the same writer's "Die" series, to be fair).
Profile Image for Roman Zarichnyi.
429 reviews24 followers
September 6, 2021
Про творчість Кіерон Ґіллена я знаю тільки з коміксу «Проклятий і божественний) («The Wicked + The Divine»), якого я вже встиг прочитати три делюкси. І в мене було дуже багато суперечливих вражень під час читання. А ось із Деном Морою все по іншому, я прочитав «Клаус» Ґранта Моррісона (вийшов українською, до речі, у видавництві Vovkulaka), який він малював, і мені дуже сподобався його малюнок. Ще раз я зустрівся із його стилем у коміксах DC Universe і там теж було все чудово. «Минуле й прийдешнє: Король-нежить» («Once & Future: King is Undead») — це класний дует із малюнком Дена Мори та міфологією про короля Артура. Як тут пройти повз?

Так про що ж сюжет, бо навіть обкладинка насправді інтригує. Група націоналістів знаходить легендарні піхви клинка Екскалібура, які мають власну магічну й таємничу силу. Вони використовують цю магію, щоби повернути короля Артура з мертвих і здійснити темне пророцтво. Але коли саркофаг відчиняється, то вони не очікували побачити кістлявого Артура, який перетворився на нежить після пробудження. З іншої сторони є одна бабуся Бріджит МакҐвайр, відставна мисливиця за монстрами, яка знає, як зупинити ці міфічні сили. На допомогу цьому вона затягнула її нічого не підозрюючого онука Дункана. Він ніколи не міг подумати, що світ, який, на його думку, існував лише в історіях, може якимось чином бути реальністю. Тепер вони зіткнутися зі смертельними таємницями минулого Великобританії, які загрожують їхньому майбутньому та і світу загалом.

Виглядає все дуже й дуже цікаво. Та є кілька «але», які відштовхують від історії. Перше, динаміка оповіді. Вона тут занадто стрімка для мене, події розвиваються з такою швидкістю, що тільки і встигай за всім. Друге, це наслідок першої проблеми для мене, бо герої не до кінця розкриваються. Звісно, що при такій манері оповіді й часу дуже немає, щоби зупинитися й розказати більше про того чи іншого персонажа. Через це відчувається штучність деяких персонажів.

Повертаючись до Дункана, то побачивши вперше монстра і трішки відгамселивши його, він легко погоджується на всі «байки» бабусі та готовий боротися із будь-якою нечистю. Його, звісно, кидає часом у сторону, де він він намагається відмовитися від цієї участі, але це виглядає більше, як якийсь істеричний припадок. Дункан ще й до того вплів у цю історію подругу, з якою він мав тільки одне недолуге перше побачення. Шкода дівчини) Ось ця вся мотивація й дії Дункана, для мене, як «вилами по воді писано». Не вірю цьому персонажу взагалі. Можливо, далі щось зміниться. Натомість, бабуся рве мозок по швах. Така собі завжди стильна, прямолінійна, тверда й жорстока жіночка, якій узяти дробовик і знести голову наступному монстру чи клинком відрізати кінцівки тому ж створінню, легше, аніж спекти пиріг із яблуками. Ось це найяскравіший аспект коміксу для мене.

І взагалі, я б назвав цей комікс таким собі «слеєром», де постійно й неочікувано з’являються монстри, а головні герої певному чином із ними справляються. Просто в основі цього лежать британські легенди й міфологія, а події відбуваються в сучасній Великобританії. Коли я ставив перед собою питання чи сподобався мені комікс, то однозначно відповісти не міг. Дуже багато моментів, які мені не сподобалися, але безумна бабуся Бріджет МакҐвайєр та малюнок Дена Мори поки витягнули для мене цю історію. Глянемо, як піде з другою аркою.

Підуписуйтеся на Телеґрам канал про комікси і не тільки https://t.me/tripwithbook
Profile Image for GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott).
615 reviews111 followers
April 12, 2020
Good action, great art, and a kick-ass grandma.

There are also swords...the sword...actually, Excalibur, which is cool.

A very interesting and modern take on the Arthurian legend. I'm definitely down for more.
Profile Image for Alan.
1,775 reviews12 followers
March 30, 2020
Well, this was certainly a twist on the concept of Arthur's return to Britain. I'm going to try quite hard to avoid spoilers, but this is not Arthur's return to Britain in its hour of greatest need like Camelot 3000.

As a matter of fact Merlin, Arthur, and most of the knights don't figure into this at all. Duncan's story is at lest a little bit of the classic hero's journey. That's ok, I'll argue that Duncan's character does evolve.

What is fun, and different, is the role Duncan's grandmother Bridgette plays.

I'm partially into volume two via digital floppies, which is making me wonder if sales triggered the ending to volume one
Profile Image for Phil.
840 reviews7 followers
April 9, 2020
Disclaimer: I received a free ecopy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let's get this out of the way up front: this book was a lot of fun to read. I've read a couple other things from Gillen, so I knew I liked his writing going into the story. And he certainly has an excellent grasp on the fantasy setting. This one, if you couldn't tell from the title, ventures into Arthurian legend, but does so in a contemporary context. The characters can be a tad silly, particularly Gran. She is a tough as nails woman who, it turns out, has a history of battling mythical creatures. When a group of archaeologists are found dead, she moves quickly to bring her grandson into the fold to fight against a looming threat.

The art is wonderful for this story. I especially liked the coloring, which is somewhat bright to match the lighthearted portions of the book. But the characters are all drawn well. I can't think of a single time that a character looked odd because of the penciling. All of the art seemed to strike a chord with me.

I enjoy a good retelling of classic stories. This one takes the right steps to not just rehash what came before. It shows an appreciation and respect for the inspirational source without being dogmatically tied to it. Bring on more of this story and these characters.
Profile Image for Xavier Hugonet.
177 reviews20 followers
March 19, 2020
Once & Future Vol. 1 collecting issues one to six of the new comic by Kieron Gillen, with artist Dan Mora, coloriste Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Ed Dukeshire. Published by Boom! Studios (2020).

A group of British nationalist extremists somehow get their hands on the scabbard of the legendary Excalibur at en archeological site, and not without spilling blood. They state that they intend to use it to restore Britain’s might.

Bridgette McGuire is what Buffy would be if she had slayed all of the vampires, and voluntarily decided to spend her golden years in the bliss of a retirement home. That is, until she catches the news about the archeological site murder.

Her grandson, Duncan, learns of her disappearance act in the middle of a date. And, he doesn’t even have time to go to search for his’grandmother as she calls for him to join her.

Duncan has been drafted into a quest.

From then, we’re treated to hilarious scenes through which Duncan discovers everything his grandmother has always been keeping hidden from him, from her slayer past to his own destiny.

This book doesn’t spend much time in introduction or exposition, as it doesn’t take long for a monster to appear and, from there, it’s non-stop action with Duncan directly thrown in the shallow part of the pool

This book is a loose modernized twist on the Arthurian legends and everything around them, with a pinch of nationalism, conspiration and hidden agenda. This first volume contains a complete story, but it builds an universe allowing for more down the line.

This story is a completely new direction for Kieron Gillen, as excellent as ever. In spite of being pulled directly into the action, we learn enough of the three main character to take a liking to them, hence caring about their fate. The dynamic between them is at the source of some good laughs.

The art is also on par, with great attention paid to facial expression, specific postures and behavior for each character. An unusual range of colors and shadows used, especially on backgrounds, catches our eye and we spend as much time admiring the atmosphere of the page as we spend following action and dialogue.

Arthurian legends might have been overused in multiple media, including comics, but Kieron Gillen’s approach is something else entirely. An originality I hope I’ll be able to revisit in further volumes.


Thanks to Boom! Studios, and Netgalley for the ARC provided in exchange for this unbiased review.
Profile Image for Cale.
3,479 reviews24 followers
June 6, 2020
The description for this book is a little bit misleading - the whole nationalist aspect of the antagonists is not important; the story really revolves around the line between legends and reality and how tales can come to life, and the havoc they wreak when people try to weaponize them. It's also about a 20-something man and his grandma and a girl who he failed to hit it off with, who all get sucked into the Arthurian legends and trying to prevent them from reclaiming the country (and the disaster it would be if they did). It's action packed, with great art, especially in the sections that take place in the legends version of the world. But it really centers on the relationship between Duncan and Bridgette (and, to a lesser extent Rose), and that dynamic is something that fits Gillen's style perfectly. I tore through this and, while it provides a relatively satisfying conclusion, it also sets the stage for more adventures, which I'm definitely here to read.
Profile Image for Štěpán.
354 reviews27 followers
February 27, 2020
Arthurian myths are great. They have been retold and redone so many times yet they still draw people. Once & Future from Gillen is an interesting take. It takes the part about belief from Gaiman's American Gods and applies it to an Arthurian myth. So this is not a story about the King Arthur or the Galahad but a representation crooked by human stories. At first, I was really confused and had to remember how it all was in the "original" version. But then it sorta clicked and confusion went away with growing enjoyment.

Dan Mora is a beast. I love his art style and he gets better and better. True, in here the colouring palette helps him a lot but his thin lines, expressive faces and dynamic art are stunning and really help to elevate this comic book.

The story takes place over one evening and because of that it is rushed and feels not believable at some moments. Character progress of Percival or sort of an "arc" just happens and it's not smooth as I would like. The story is a little bit chaotic but that is because this is supposed to be one quick adventure. Also, Gillen wanted to originally have this as a 12 issues maxi-series but the changed it to ongoing. Even though there are problems I was captivated and overall had a blast and as a fan of Gillen's writting and Mora's art I can't wait for another story arc.
Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,224 reviews195 followers
November 29, 2020
Once & Future has a strong premise, intriguing mythology, and a solid cast of characters. It's entertaining and immersive, and that's what I want from a good story.
Profile Image for Ineffable7980x.
203 reviews10 followers
June 2, 2022
This is a fun story that I will most likely continue. However, it features details of the Arthurian legend that I do not remember. For fans of Arthur, this is something you might want to try.
Profile Image for Книжни Криле.
2,797 reviews149 followers
February 18, 2021
Какво би станало ако зомби версия на крал Артур се надигне и опита да си върне земите, а на пътя му застанат само корава пенсионерка и неувереният ѝ внук? На този въпрос отговарят Кийрън Гилън и Дан Мора в „Някога и в бъдеще – том първи: Кралят е жив мъртвец“, издаден от Artline Studios. „Някога и в бъдеще“ е сравнително нова поредица на Boom Studios!, стартирала през 2019 г., в която екшънът, комедията, митовете и легендите се събират накуп и поднасят на читателите едно истински забавно приключения. Всъщност, поредицата се превръща в такъв хит на запад, че броевете постоянно имат нови допечатки (брой първи вече е на седмата си по-малко от половин година след първоначалното си издание) и няма изгледи търсенето скоро да секне. У нас, поредицата дебютира със сборно издание, което събира първите шест броя (и галерия с алтернативните корици за многото допечатки). Прочетете ревюто на "Книжни Криле": https://knijnikrile.wordpress.com/202...
Profile Image for James.
2,259 reviews47 followers
January 8, 2021
4.25 stars. I read this as the singles were coming out and was really enjoying it. Then I decided to cut back on my singles and just wait for this trade. Then the COVID shutdown happened. Well I finally got volume 2. I realized it had been a year since I read this. So I figured I’d break out my singles and get refreshed as not to be confused rolling into volume 2.
Reading this all at once let me see some things I missed before like how great the pacing is. This story moves swiftly without going too fast if that makes since. Great sense of adventure and dope action. Gillen also does a great job with the characters. Grams is awesome and our hero Duncan just makes you root for him. Dan Mora crushes it on the covers and the interior art and Bonvillain brings it to life in the most magnificent way with her colors. So lush and vibrant. Almost like the art is glowing. Can’t wait to crack open that volume 2 now!!
Profile Image for Benji Glaab.
488 reviews44 followers
November 8, 2020
4🌟's

Nice start. The pace was fantastic ended up crushing this in one sitting which for a reasonably busy father of 2 on a Sunday morning is a feat in itself. I always have loved a non-stop action adventure where one scene blends into the next where the characters rarely have time to catch there breaths. The premise is simple King Arthur was always said to return in Brittons darkest hour. However this little piece of prophecy can be taken 2 ways.

There is a dece cast going here and a reveal about a certain wizard in the end. This promises to be an entertaing series moving forward
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