If ever there was a perfect soundtrack to listen to while browsing a comic, then it has to be John White’s song of the same title.
From the same trio that brought us, “Amelia Cole” (sidebar: Go read it, when you can) comes a new 5 issue long, alternative timeline tale of Queen Arthur. Yes, you read that correctly the first five times.
Now, I’m sure you are probably rolling your eyes at what this could lead up to. But, with the wave of new media, a shift towards more inclusive storylines, and open sexualities coming to the forefront. Did we all really think this wouldn’t next up for batting around?
Yes, comics are for one’s personal escapism from the politic barrage that is all of our Facebook feeds. However, don’t forget that the only real reason we have science fiction, fantasy, and the like is, in part, due to reflecting upon the turmoil of our time. Conan the Barbarian, The X-Men, and so forth are echoes of their time and there’s no way around it.
But, yes, do tell me I’m wrong after sitting through a history of comics session.
In issue #1, we meet our 19-year-old, chess playing protagonist, Rani Arturus. Right off the bat, we see that she’s an only child of a mixed marriage about to head to Cornwall, England for the tournament.
On the first day, Rani battles it out with opponents in a very classic way. Move, hit the bell, move, win. But, for some reason, she’s distracted by a pretty blonde across the way.
At this point, I’m squinting my eyes at this scene. Both Rani and the new opponent are flushed in the cheeks. Carefully, re-reading the inner thought bubbles, I instinctively assumed was the dude across from her.
Uh huh, Rani swings that way in less than two pages and goes about her merry way. Commence, the avalanche of “Social Justice Warriors GTFO” emails.
After getting back to the hotel room, Rani, in pure teen angst fashion, has a meltdown about her loss. Both her parents try to comfort her with sightseeing the city, but Rani bursts out the door for a walk alone.
Not once, does she mention to said parents about the pretty blonde?
Rani takes some time to contemplate a life without chess when she takes a tumble down the hillside and finds…Excalibur in a cave.
Without spoiling anything else, you can probably put two and two together.
The Once and Future Queen looks to be a breath of fresh air in a time-honored tradition in revamping the Arthur myth. While I’m still not a big fan of this kind of art style, I can get behind what Knave, Kirkbridge, Brokenshire and team are trying to accomplish here and I thank you for it.