Imagine you get a call that your grandmother has escaped from a nursing home, but instead of wandering the streets in confusion, she leads you into her secret arsenal of weapons and declares that she must resume her old plea to hunt monsters – and you must help her. That’s exactly what happens to Duncan, the once-and-future comic strip hero, and let me say this up front: It’s awesome.
The Undead King. Long live the king.
Sixth-century artifacts unearthed in digs in Cornwall. Shortly thereafter, the archaeologist responsible was killed and one of the finds, a sword sheath, disappeared. This makes it clear to Bridget McGuire, a former monster hunter, that she can no longer peacefully spend her old age in retirement home, because a nationalist group appears to be summoning a mythical king from the realm of the dead to take control of England. But this time the brave lady is not alone. It’s time to start her grandson, Duncan, in the place he was long destined for.
Bridget McGuire is nothing but your typical grandmother.
Through the One and Future series, author Kieron Gillen, known among other things for many of the Marvel comics, and illustrator Dan Mora bring the famous Arthurian legend into modern times and give it a darker twist. Because from the other world, not only do the king and his knights infiltrate the here and now, but also monsters and demons appear again in England after a long time. Accordingly, Duncan no longer understands the world, and the fact that his grandmother is such a powerful expert that now makes him her successor in rapid progress and in and of itself, anything but the amiable way is quite different and above all very humorous.
The tempo is surprisingly fast considering it’s the first book in a series. They go in quick succession, so that sometimes the explanations and background information fall short and it is not always possible to immediately understand why something happens. Knowing the King Arthur saga helps make this comic more enjoyable, but it’s by no means a requirement. At the same time, I kept looking at the mold, which is over a thousand years old, and found it interesting to see what Gillen and Maura made of it.
The graphics are great all the time, especially because of the color concept, which is based on very specific colors and changes depending on the location or event in the story, so after a while you can actually tell what’s going on from the color chart. The panels are arranged in a fairly classic fashion, and there is a bit of experimentation here, but that’s a good thing given the already mentioned high combo pace.
The only drawback of this edition is the translation, which is not always successful. At some point, someone is “totally mixed up”, which gives the scene an involuntarily comical thing, which unfortunately does not suit him at all. Sure enough, the original in English said “mixed”, which would have been better translated here as “rotten”. Having said that, I highly recommend once and for the future, especially to fans of British history, Arthur’s saga, monsters and brave grandmothers. I immediately followed up on the next volume, volume 3, and the last volume four for now, which will be published on June 13, 2022, and will go with me as well.
Once and Future 1: The King is Undead Published by Cross Cult, ISBN: 978-3-96658-182-0, 144 pages, hardcover, €22
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Our online magazine ntower is a member of the affiliate networks Amazon PartnerNet, Awin, Webgains, Media Markt E-Business GmbH and Saturn online GmbH. If you order via one of our affiliate links, we receive a variable commission from the respective store operator. There are no additional costs for end customers.
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