What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the finale issue for Once & Future. Well, actually right now I’m struggling to use the word finale because even if this is issue six out of six? This book has sold well enough that it is hard to imagine this one not continuing with another mini down the road. With that said, it is still hard to accept that here we are at the last issue. So much has happened within these six issues that makes you wish this were an ongoing to get more out of it.
Jumping into this last issue, this was everything worth the investment that we have put in the development of Duncan as our main character of the story. It was easy to see Duncan as that troublesome character who is thrust into a world of chaos and can’t seem to catch a break. It was easier to be put off by this guy who is pretty stacked despite being a historian and fairly passive. So it made a world of a difference to get to this point in the madness where Duncan could pull up his pants and become the hero he has actually been groomed to be since he was raised by Gran. There was no better motivation for Duncan to take up a sword and play his role than to save the life of the one person he cared for more than most others. It was exciting to take this journey with him into the belly of the beast knowing that there was no guarantee in any of their safety in the Otherworld.
Now one could say that once on the other side things played out a bit conveniently for Duncan and Gran, but what of their final act was cool for the fact that they always had the advantage of knowing more than anyone else involved. Since the first issue we learned that it paid off to understand the stories and where you draw the line in the sand between stories, history, and fantasy. I commend Kieron Gillen that this was something he did not let go of till the very end. It is refreshing immersing into a fantasy book like this and the greatest weapon be the main character(s)’ mind. This confrontation with Arthur could have wrapped up a lot of ways, yet it mattered most that the solution came from thinking outside of the box.
The bit at the end was a nice touch because as I said above, this issue is definitely the finale for the book, but that doesn’t quite mean this is the end for it all. It was welcomed that we could get something thrown in that would give us hope for more to come. Obviously the words “To be continued” say more than enough as is, but there was plenty more which sent the message all the same. What most should appreciate is the effort they put into creating a conclusion without unnecessarily trying to use the issue as a means of set-up.
From the first issue to the last, I couldn’t imagine another art team offering better than what Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain did. Compared to the issue before, this one was more action-packed. Dan Mora jumped into this one and did not skip a beat either. I enjoyed the detail that he put into making the action flow from one scene into the next. I enjoyed more the way that he drew Duncan in this moment since this was his moment to not only play the part, but look the part. There was no more scared expressions, or looks of shock. Duncan carried a stoic presence, he stood tall, he swung with intent to destroy, overall he looked mature. On the fantasy side, Arthur never failed to terrify for the way he had this appearance of a death knight. Neither did the other things which jump out at you on the pages. As for the colors? Bonvillain knocked it out of the park because this is the kind of pallet you only get with a story like this. The otherworldy green, cold color combinations, and other combinations of colors which create this trippy image and representation of tales taken form. Aside from this, the choice to lean towards darker color schemes, and black backgrounds was prefect for adding to the overall tone of this story.
With the conclusion of Once & Future #6, we certainly got the full package on this adventure with Duncan, Gran, and Rose. This chapter was action-packed, it gave us a stoic hero, and it was heartwarming when it mattered most. It was awesome as a whole to get this visual of what a Duncan who finally accepts his role in the larger story looks like.