‘Once & Future’ #22 ramps up the action even more while offering up a number of differently emotionally charged scenes too. An issue that divides its attention amongst a number of different characters while still expanding on the narrative and the mythos Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora are building.
As the war rages across the supernaturally transformed United Kingdom, everyone continues to have their hands full with legendary characters come to life. Last issue there was the terrifying Gorgon of myth and this issue we have the joint challenges posed by Yvain and his monstrously large lion as well as the even monstrously larger giant. Only two more dazzling examples of artist Dan Mora’s enviable design skills in creating one memorable characters after another for this horror fantasy series. Of course, writer Kieron Gillen gives Mora plenty of opportunities in this particular arc, as the Otherworld land of England is awash with plenty of nasty fear folk and the like as the two Arthurs do battle.
It’s another fast paced issue as we swap between Bridgette, Duncan and Rose on the road to Stratford-Upon-Avon and the Grail Castle, which is under threat from the aforementioned giant. A gruesome, ghoulish looking creature unlike anything you could ever imagine living atop a beanstalk. It has more than a touch of Guillermo Del Toro about its design.
But even amongst the action -and plenty of speed lines to emphasise the pace of it all – there are moments of levity as Duncan guesses at the true identity of the greatest monster hunter of them all. Well, they are in Stratford-Upon_Avon, so it’s not too hard to guess. But, in its delivery on the page, it’s a great moment of deadpan humour amongst all the melodrama.
As well as the action and humour there is also tragedy too as embodied by the once hateful Galahad. A being that has been brought low and confoundedly confused by recent events. Warped to suit a story not of his making, one cannot help but begin to feel for this particular character.
In dropping the reader into a number of different scenes with different characters, both good and bad, Gillen deftly offers up a comic that is just as heavy on action as it is on emotional investment. Mora’s art, and Tara Bonvillain’s ever-vibrant and magical colouring, seals the deal making this another engrossing issue of an overall fascinating, fantasy series with more than a dash of horror to it too.
Once & Future #22 is out now from BOOM! Studios