What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Once & Future #8! Since the continuation of this book, the story has descended into madness, and rightfully so. We knew there had to be more to this tale, and when given the room to continue telling that story? This creative team opened the doors to a whole world of tales clashing. And that is what makes this book stand out from all the rest. You don’t know what to expect from it, because it takes advantage of everything you assume that is either general knowledge. That and everything you assume to be safe.
Jumping into this new issue, once more we are hit with some of the changes which we have gotten used to since the continuation of this story. The end of the last story arc shifted the direction of the story in a lot of ways. One of the biggest involves the relationship between Duncan and Bridgette. Since that moment of revelation for Duncan about his upbringing, their dynamic has not been the same moving forward. There’s much less of that familial tone in which they engaged each other with. Now it all seems more professional and about the job. For better or for worse this has been a good development. Duncan was never going to get too far having his hand held most of the time. This may not have been how Bridgette wanted to get him accustomed to this world, but now we have a version of Duncan who is take charge and more understanding of his current experiences. If he really played up to the role of big guy who gets terrified of monsters? That would get old pretty quick, if you ask me.
From there they pushed forward with another big development. The introduction of Beowolf into the story, and the current situation of Galahad who is still undergoing his transformation. They say a strange newcomer arrives at the dark court of Camelot, his presence disrupts The Otherworld. Though we already knew who that was going to be. What mattered more was seeing how said person was going to create disruptions in The Otherworld. What you took away from this part here was more of the genius behind Once & Future. As they will always say, there is no one way to understand someone’s story. Beowolf is not the kind of person who you would expect to cross paths with King Arthur the way he did. Neither did you expect the way that Merlin would interact with Arthur. You get so used to their connection being one way, that it catches you off guard when that is not the way it is here.
With that said, the thrill of this issue was getting that one moment where crap hit the fan. It was unexpected, and that is always welcomed with a book like this. Nothing so far you would call predictable, and that puts you at the edge of your seat. Duncan and Bridgette are the kind of heroes who benefit from knowing what they are getting themselves into. It shakes things up a hell of a lot when trouble makes its way to them instead, and when they are at their most vulnerable.
Now the interior work was the one thing I knew I was going to enjoy no matter how this issue turned out. With an art team like this? It is hard to be disappointed by what they are able to produce. Off the bat, the work with the characters is phenomenal. I love that Mora is the kind of penciler who is able to get very detailed with his characters, yet at the same time have fun with their expressiveness. Especially when it comes to capturing the relationship between Duncan and Bridgette. They go from very serious, to “Holy ****!” pretty fast, and it is always perfectly written on their faces. Aside from this, there is the appeal of the things unique to the world of Once & Future. Namely the design of characters from tales we are familiar with. I mean when was the last time you saw Beowulf and thought he was going to be Hulking and covered in flames? That or saw Merlin and thought that he does not look like someone who has good intentions. With an issue like this, it also went a long way that a majority took place outside and outside. That theme of colors which Bonvillain uses to capture darkness does a lot for setting the atmosphere and tone of this story.
To say that Duncan and Bridgette are in over their heads is a heck of an understatement after what they get themselves into in Once & Future #8. They had their work cut out for them before, but standing up to the freight-train that is this Beowulf? Like me, you are going to feel the pain of having to wait till that next issue to see how they get out of this one.