What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Once & Future #13! It’s a strange thing, but during my brief break from comics and reviews, I found myself with a greater appreciation for the kind of story told within the pages of Once & Future. Strange because that appreciation was after watching Once Upon a Time. Another series which revels in the uniqueness of stories told which exist outside of what you are familiar with about the fictional characters you grew up with. This book goes the distance and accomplishes the same, on a different level too. One which knows how to go to a dark place to shatter your expectations.
That said, here we are at Once & Future #13. The issue which also stands as the start of a brand-new story arc. I found myself looking forward to the start of this story arc for the fact that the game has once more changed. The shock didn’t just stop at the arrival of Beowulf and Grendel from the legendary Old English poem. The shock came from questioning what else these heroes should have to brace themselves for when something worse could be lurking around the corner. With Once and Future being the kind of story it is? This creative team wasted little time stirring those feelings of dread for what comes next. How they accomplished setting the tone for this arc was quite creative too. It never gets old seeing just how much Gran knows about her folklore. Even when things should look grim for her, they never fail to make the statement that it pays to know your stories. No matter the version of it either.
This brings me to the transition into this story arc in general. I enjoyed the way that Team Gran in their own way returned to something they could call normal. In fact, I was surprised that they could call anything normal after what they just experienced at the hands of Grendel. I was definitely interested to see how Duncan in particular moved forward. Since the first issue he has been the character of interest for the way that he has been forced to adapt to his new reality. Part of you fears for what hell he will be thrown into next, yet you also want to see if this is one of those things where you only come out on the other side stronger.
Now the best takeaway from this issue was seeing just what Team Gran had to fear next. There was definitely another monster to survive by the end, but at a point you have to admit that one of the greatest dangers this team faces is their own eagerness to get ahead of their enemies. This led to an interesting development that this time around created an understanding of where your benefits begin and end in the role you play.
For this issue in particular, there was something to love about the brutality of this world. This art team is not one to shy away from a bit of carnage, and this is something which consistently separates Once & Future from every other story that calls itself dark fantasy. Aside from this, I continued to admire the work with expressions that goes into these characters. Part of the appeal to this story is without a doubt the engagement you get from these characters as they interact with each other. You enjoy the dark bits, but you also enjoy the moments and scenes where these characters are just being people living through the quiet periods. Aside from this, the colors as usual worked their magic to set the atmosphere. You can’t deny the red flags which go off in your head when you see the background change color to emphasize something you should brace yourself for.
All in all, another thrilling issue of Once & Future. As the start of a new story arc, issue #13 gave us plenty to look forward to in the issues to come.