I’d be lying if I didn’t say one of the main things which drew me to this book wasn’t the fact that the writer was Kieron Gillen. It also helped that this was both him writing this and the fact that this would also be a story which thrusts you into the world of magic. So far this has not been a combination which disappoints. And would you expect it to when this first issue has already sold out enough to warrant a fast track to a third printing? That gives you some big expectations for what this one has in store for us!
From that first scene, I found myself sucked into this story to figure out what is going on here and how this world works. They started off with a bang, quite literally, and set the mood for everything else to follow. You may not know who these nationalists are exactly, but you know that they are dangerous enough to do whatever it takes to get their hands on the tools/artifacts needed to bring this villain from Arthurian myth back from the dead to gain power. Of course we would eventually need specifics, but that was something we could wait for when this is the time to properly set the stage.
Where I fell in love with this book, just so happened to be with our first introduction to ex-monster hunter Bridgette McGuire. Off the bat, she was like that cool grandma that everyone wish they had. She’s old as dirt, but that doesn’t stop her from being independent, intimidating, and full of juicy secrets. They were quick to jump right into her story following the first scene which set everything in motion. As for Duncan, I enjoyed every bit of our first introduction to him as well. He is your standard grandson who is completely unsuspecting, out of his depths, and non-aggressive. Even unable to hold proper interactions with other people. However, that can be fun when you have an intense grandmother like he does. How she dragged him into the world of magic is where this story starts to become its own. It’s also where things begin to get exciting very fast. You knew that this would be one of those things where Duncan is thrown into the fire, and she takes it all in stride, but you couldn’t have prepared for what would meet them on the other side to shake things up.
It took till the end of the issue for the plot to be established, but it was worth the wait for the conversation leading up to it. You don’t simply drag your grandson into a world of madness, and into things that he only now believes to be true. We were basically in the same seat as Duncan. Learning the truths to this world, to what this group wants with the scabbard, and what it means if they are not stopped. From there, the second issue will be a blast to jump into.
They put together one hell of an all-star art team to tackle Once & Future. Sometimes you can just see the names of the artists and know that you have nothing to fear about the book visually. This was one of those teams, and it surprised me more seeing Dan Mora on something that wasn’t a licensed title. Most books I followed where he was artist, he was drawing pre-existing characters. Once & Future gave him room to work on something more original, and I have to say that this was some of his best work. The detail in his work was jaw-dropping, and got a little more playful with his characters and the way they express themselves. I enjoyed more how loose he got with the way that these character communicated with their body language. You have the eccentric old lady, and then the panicked grandson. That instantly gives you a lot to work with. Not to mention the room to draw things that could only exist in a magical world whether artifact or creature. What brought this together was the colors from Tamra Bonvillain. This kind of book was right up her alley. A beautiful array of colors breathed life into these characters, settings, and the things fantastical which makes this book unique.
By the end of this first issue, I could tell that Once & Future was going to be one of the most entertaining stories of magic and mysticism we were going to get this year. This one gave the impression that it was actually going to be a mix of a lot of things, which is not a bad thing at all. Who doesn’t love a book that is able to get different reactions from you? I’m almost certain you might have a few issues where you will go “Oh ****”, others where you might get hit in the feels, and somewhere you might get a good laugh out of it. Though more importantly? I think this one will have you coming back for more because there is a sense of wonder to uncovering hidden truths and histories.