What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the first issue for Once & Future as a new ongoing. Like I said with issue #6, it would have been crazy if this were a book that was not given more issues to flesh out these characters and world. A book like this does not sell as well as it did and not get rewarded for the success. That said, in case you’ve forgotten, Once & Future is the story of retired monster hunter Bridgette McGuire and her unsuspecting grandson Duncan who fight against a rising evil that plans to take over their country to bring it back to its former glory.
Now the most important thing with this seventh issue was how they brought us back into this story. Its been some months since the last issue, and this isn’t one of those cases where we are picking up with another mini. This is the very next issue despite it also being the start of a new story arc. So with that in mind, I would say that this creative team did just well picking up from where we last left these characters. As one would expect, there would need to be a period of healing for Duncan after everything he experienced already, there would be fear from one Bridgette who needs to be redeemed for everything she kept secret from Duncan, and both of them would need to prepare for an adventure that is only just beginning. They were quick to show us exactly what kind of world they created in the process of failing to fully stop Arthur.
With that said, it was cool to jump back into this story with Duncan and Rose a bit more comfortable with the world they have now been sucked into. Of course that isn’t to say that comfort equals experience. So at the same time the anticipation was met with what new challenges they would now face. The first challenge? That gave us a satisfying action scene which set the tone for what’s to come.
One of the main things we needed to see moving forward was how the enemy was still something to fear considering their plans did not come to fruition at the end of the last arc. Surely one would want to know how in detail that Arthur and company survived the madness which befell the world, but it was good enough just knowing that they still had a place to pick up from. Especially when it came to a new kind of danger which they were preparing to unleash upon the world. That surprisingly also didn’t take long for us to have revealed, though I did love more the fact that they did not let us soon forget that this is not one of those stories full of hope. This is dark fantasy, and thus does not require the need to captivate us with anything fantastical.
Now with all of that aside, there was something new that they set in motion in this new arc. That we had to wait patiently for, but the wait was worth it for a third-party which might get you asking a lot of questions about what happened between the end of the last arc and the start of this one.
The artwork was still one of the best things Once & Future has going for it. I was blown away by the work that this creative team put into this issue. No effort was wasted to remind us exactly what kind of world we were stepping back into. Like I said above, this isn’t one of those books where you should expect whimsical fantasy. That doesn’t really exist here when these dark forces have twisted what greets you on the other side. The undead armies, the mutilation of bodies seen as powerful, the visualization of all that changes things. That said, the pencil work in particular was brilliant for the way that these scenes are rendered with such extensive detail in the characters and settings. The colors bring it all together where the interiors look like something live-action worthy. One thing which still benefits the interiors greatly is the way that the background color is black in contrast to where most use white. This really makes a difference in creating an atmosphere where you are always bracing for the worst.
Overall, the events of Once & Future #7 will make you believe that the right call was made to turn this book into an ongoing. Once & Future is a book that no one else is offering in this genre. What is magic when everything you knew about it that was pure, in reality is anything but?