Review: As One Chapter Closes A New One Is Teased In ‘Once And Future’ #12

by Olly MacNamee


Grendel’s mother is out for revenge in ‘Once and Future’ #12 and only Duncan stands in her way. Meanwhile, Merlin continues to scheme and set players into motion in each of the Holy Grail. A fitting end to this chapter of Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora’s fantasy saga.


Grendel’s mum comes calling on Duncan and Bridgette in another action-soaked issue of Once and Future. And, a family reunion no-one saw coming. But, what intrigued me the most about this issue is a reference to a “war of stories”. There is the idea that fabled characters such as Beowulf and King Arthur can be captured within the confines of a book. And, in many ways that is true. A legend like King Arthur is malleable. It is ripe for reinterpretation and over the course of the millennium and a half it’s been around, it has changed. But, the minute a story is recorded on paper, it become less malleable and more a definitive. And so, many people think of King Arthur as portrayed in Sir Thomas Mallory’s weighty Le Motre d’Arthur. A Medieval world of round tables, chivalry and Lancelot and not the more grubby Celtic roots to the story. But, as any English Literature major will tell you, Arthur’s story is one of archetypes. And, it would seem Duncan is embracing this himself in this issue. With Beowulf killed, Duncan stands in for him, just as he was Percival. The hero and his mentor, in this case his gran. 

Kieron Gillen brings down the curtain in a way that this issue does feel like the ending of one chapter before a new one begins. The Holy Grail is still out there and a new and very dangerous player comes forth at the very end, suggesting this particular saga is far more reaching than maybe you’d think. It’s certainly a great way of keeping the particular idiot in suspense. 

As ever the artwork of Dan Mora is a marvel to behold and while he makes use of a great deal of dark and shadow, befitting of the story being told, the colour art of Tamra Bonvillain give the whole affair a sense of the otherworldly and adds a brightness to it all. 

Once And Future #12 is out now from BOOM! Studios.

%d bloggers like this: