In this concluding fifth volume of Once & Future, it is up to Gran, Duncan and Rose to save everyone from the deadly Otherworld that has now infiltrated the entire U.K. It all started when British academic Duncan and his monster-hunting Gran, Bridgette, fought off an un-dead King Arthur that some Nationalists had reanimated to keep Britain pure. Due to some magical treachery, the Otherworld is now out in the open, and reality and fantasy have become co-mingled. Our three heroes try to save their friends and family while battling new creatures, but Duncan’s mother Mary and his half-brother always complicate matters.
As with all the volumes, King Arthur and Merlin play a big part in the narrative. But there are several versions of them that have appeared, all believing themselves to be the true King and wizard. There are many twists and turns, and Rose’s adoption plays a pivotal part towards the end. There are sacrifices made, but Gran and Mary always know what to do and how to manipulate the situation in their favor.
Author Kieron Gillen is obviously an expert in English stories, but the average reader is not, so there were times the warped mythology became too confusing. Throughout the entire series, he threw in so many different characters and plots from English folktales and legends that it was hard to keep straight who was who and how they all connected to one another. However, I learned from his previous series, The Wicked + The Divine, that you can’t get caught up in the small details, as you have to step back and look at the big picture.
I really enjoyed the art by Dan Mora and how he drew the characters plus all the fantasy elements. Fond of many panels per page, the action flowed in cinematic-like sequences. Mora created amazing monsters and landscapes, and the coloring by Tamra Bonvillain was perfect. The floating orbs that were previously a clue that magic was moving into the regular world and they should be wary of are now everywhere, so on the flip side, when the story ended, I was sad to see the orbs disappear.
The concluding page points to the possibility of further adventures, which Gillen confirms in his farewell statement. The mythology in this series was deliciously warped, so I look forward to future adventures with hunky Duncan and his ass-kicking Gran if this creative team decides to reanimate the story in the future!
Read the rest of the series!
V2: Old English