December 4, 2021

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Comic Review: Once & Future Volume One

An old lady comes out of retirement to teach her grandson how to hunt monsters when some idiots resurrect King Arthur.

Hey look!  I managed to get some more trades read for more reviews!

Yeah, it may not be that exciting for the hypothetical reader, but I got off to a good start with a new series from writer Kieron Gillen called Once & Future, and if you think that sounds like something to do with the King Arthur legends, when, the subtitle for this first volume is The King Is Undead, so now you have a better idea.

Elderly Bridgette McGuire, an Irishwoman living in an English nursing home, is more than a strong-willed old lady who gives her nurses and attendants fits.  She’s secretly a retired monster hunter, and when word comes out that some white nationalists have stolen King Arthur’s scabbard, she decides she has to do something.  She calls her grandson Duncan, a clumsy young man who’s never had a successful date in his life.  Fearing she’s in trouble, he heads off to find her and helps her dig up something he didn’t know she had:  a crate full of weapons buried in the forest.

Duncan is about to get inducted into the family business whether he wants to be or not.  See, those nationalists want to resurrect King Arthur to drive out anyone who isn’t a pureblood English or something.  Bridgette and Duncan arrive too late as an undead monster of a man rises and immediately kills most of the people who revived him.  See, they were Anglo-Saxons, and Arthur was a Norman who used to fight those guys.  Sort of.

See, Arthur runs off stories.  He’s not necessarily a reborn man as he is a legend of some kind, and the way he behaves depends greatly on what stories are being told about him.  Bridgette knows a lot of those old stories, and Duncan, well, he might be good with a gun if he gets a few lessons first.  But other people know stories too, and they might be a real problem.

However, I had no problem with this trade and was mostly wondering why I took so long to get to it.  Maybe it’s because I am currently just about finished with T.H. White’s The Once and Future King or maybe it’s because I generally dig Gillen’s work, but this was just fun, full of nods to old Arthurian lore, and not just the popular stories everyone knows.  Duncan is clearly shaping up to be a good monster hunter, Bridgette is filling the mentor role nicely, and a woman named Rose seems likely to make a handy all-purpose helper to both.  Artist Dan Mora draws a suitably monstrous Arthur, and let’s just say I have already picked up the next trade.

9.5 out of 10 Questing Beasts.

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