What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Once & Future #9! To say that Duncan and Bridgette are in over their heads was a heck of an understatement after what they got themselves into in Once & Future #8. Finding themselves standing up to the freight-train that is this Beowulf? The anticipation was hitting me hard to see how they get out of this one. They could try to fight their way out of this, maybe they have some clever trick up their sleeve to get out of situations like this, but we would never know till after flipping to that first page!
Lucky for us, flipping open to that first page wasn’t disappointing. They threw us right into what came next in that moment, and I could not argue with the quick thinking on Duncan and Brigette’s part to actually have some chance at getting out of this disaster. Well, I should say they pulled off some quick thinking to get out of that in one piece. Once more, I loved this series because this creative does not pull punches. Everything that you know is supposed to be light and fantastical has been thrown right out of the window. What they have left us with is the reality of these tales. You would have rooted for Beowulf if this was that movie you saw some years ago, but what do you do when the real deal is trying to tear you apart? That’s a scary thought if you ask me, and I definitely felt something for Duncan and Brigette as this was the first time where their fates were uncertain. With a creative team like this? There is no telling what they will do just to get a rise out of us.
That said, there was something else to admire about what happened here, and that was getting a reminder that Brigette is not the old lady to underestimate. It’s crazy that a hunter her age could have made it this long, but they never once allow us to forget that she made it this far because she is always prepared. So far there has not been one time where I did not find myself impressed by what she was able to pull out of her bag of tricks to get one over on someone who clearly had her number. At the same time, I liked that they found some room to explore what goes through Brigette’s head at a time like this. For everything that they emphasized she has been through in the past, this is still somehow a new experience for her. Especially when this mission involves someone who doesn’t fully understand the world she lives in. One that calls for you to tap into a different side of yourself.
Something else which grabs your attention is the depth they have also decided to give to this Merlin, and the plans he has for Arthur. As one of the things that’s supposed to represent differences in tales, I was intrigued by this version of Merlin. He is nothing like what you recall from the stories. Much older, filled with evil intentions, and even blood-soaked. If what he did and said wasn’t enough to shake you, than it was simply the way he appeared, With that said, this was the issue where we got more clarity to these plans of his. Nothing dealing in specifics, but you got the gist of what he is trying to get out of the wheels he has spun.
This art team was in their element this issue, as the interior work was spectacular! There was action, there was character focus, there was just a lot of things going on in this issue and they did not skip a beat. Now as I pointed out above, the one thing that stuck with me most was the way that Merlin has been designed. That right there is not the image of the grand wizard with bright colors that you once knew. He quite literally pales in comparison. Covered in blood, covered in blood red veins, let’s not forget his eyes glow red too. Just one of many things in this book which sweeps you away beyond a Beowulf who is naturally engulfed in flames. There’s nothing human about that, or even the way he ran through both Duncan and Brigette. That scene in particular was thrilling for the excellent transition of scenes, and how fluent it was jumping from one action into the next.
Expect the unexpected with this book. That is what I have come to accept by the conclusion of Once & Future #9. This is a book which thrives on the idea that the only way to keep your head is to know the story, because Duncan and Brigette are in for a rude awakening if they don’t pick up on that soon.