Dark Horse Comics 2017
Written by Adam P. Knave and D.J. Kirkbride
Illustrated by Nick Brokenshire
Lettered by Frank Cvetkovic
Over the years the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have been explored, told retold in various ways, shapes and forms. Honestly I kind of gave up hope for one that I would find as well done as Camelot 3000 and while this may about half that in length reading this first issue gives me hope that finally we’re getting a version that’s just as interesting, well done and that will challenge the way we think and expand our minds.
I’m pretty darn impressed with what we’re seeing here. The opening is in Portland where we meet Rani and her parents. They are heading overseas to England so that Rani can compete in a Chess Tournament. Not someone you’d expect to be involved with the legend of Arthur or would you, I do like the parallel here and it surprised me that I hadn’t thought of the way it fit earlier. I mean the strategy to play chess is like one of warfare right you move pieces around the board and conquer your enemy it’s all very similar indeed. So thanks to the guys for making me see the possibilities in something I hadn’t before. This only one aspect of what made this exciting for me.
There’s a distraction at the chess tournament for Rani and it comes from an unexpected form, at least to us as a reader. It’s also the introduction of a main character, Gwen. Part of me loves that and then another part of me thinks wait Gwen, hmm Torchwood and suddenly it all has this really bigger feeling about it. How would the people who are mean to be a part of this drama find themselves coming together. Innocent connections and interactions that seem like coincidence, which we all know of which there is no such thing. So the way that this first issue unfolds for us as we meet the cast and learn kind of what’s at stake here well it’s brilliantly done in my humble opinion.
I do like the interiors here as they manage to represent so many different people from different walks of life and cultures extremely well. The utilisation of the page layouts through angles, perspective and use of backgrounds to help the flow of this move as smooth as it does is incredible to see. The attention to detail and the use of colour here is wonderful and it gives us those moments of pop and wow that we need to separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.
We get to meet a very much different kind of person who pulls the sword from the stone and the way that Merlin comes into this is one for the ages. It’s thoroughly modern and wonderfully wacky and it’s one of those situations that makes you think that nothing is stranger than reality. I love the diversity in not only the characters we see and how they relate to one another but the implications they represent as well. No longer is the world black or white, straight or gay it’s all about the shades in between that make things what we really want to see and know about.
The Once and Future Queen is the story about the sword Excalibur wand who wields it that you’ve been waiting for. Original, creative and all kinds of inclusive this is one of if not the week’s most interesting read!