Twisted Chivalry: ‘Once & Future’ #17 Reviewed

by Olly MacNamee


Once & Future #17 delivers another issue of horror and fantasy as Bridgette and her monster hunters track down Mary in the Otherworld. Merlin tries to control the narrative, but cfor how much longer when there are so many variables coming into play?


Once & Future continues to deal with the power and malleability of stories as Kieron Gillen mines original ways in which to reimagine Arthurian characters in new and interesting ways, and the latest issue is no different. Having already delved into the two very different versions of the Holy Grail Quest – as if King Arthur is some kind of multi-universal being straight out of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – we are now treated to the macabre sight of a Galahad recast as a centaur and becoming a twisted mirror-image of the very literal meaning if the word ‘chivalry’*. This particular centaur, however, is a reminder that this is as much a horror book as it is a tale of monster hunters in England’s West Country . 

And as the past few issues of this latest arc is showing, this is fast becoming a book in which the various female characters are beginning to take the lead. Not that Bridgette wasn’t the lead before now, but the likes of Rose and Mary/Nimue/Elaine are beginning to shine through and carve their own stories and roles within these folktales. These are far from the fair damsels in distress that the likes of Arthur’s Round Table knights once saved, but rather formidable allies against the growing forces of evil spewing forth from the Otherworld. 

Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain offer up another cavalcade of action and ethereal colours that make the horror sparkle more than it should while Merlin continues to make his move, revealing something of his masterplan like a megalomaniacal supervillain. It’s definitely the demon heritage in his bloodline that Gillen is keen on bringing to the fore in this Evil Dead meets Excalibur addition to the ever changing legend of yore. 

An arc that is most definitely building to a crescendo and one that’s only expanding in scale with each new player to be introduced. And wait until you get a load of the player that’s just defected to the monster hunters’ team! Now that is epic scale! In more than one sense of the word!

Once & Future #17 is out now from BOOM! Studios

*’chivalry’ is derived form the old French world ‘chevalerie’, meaning ‘horse soldiery’. And Galahad is certainly the living embodiment if that in his current form!

For more on the sources behind this fantasy horror series why nit check in on our ‘Arthurian Annotations’ here. Which reminds me, I really should get round to writing up my notes on Merlin sooner rather than later.

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