UNHOLY GRAIL #3
One of the darkest and most twisted versions of the Arthurian legends continues this week with the release of UNHOLY GRAIL #3 from Aftershock Comics. Author Cullen Bunn must have been having a bad day when he watched The Sword in the Stone as a child because his take on Arthur and the stories that surround him is the stuff of nightmares. The demonic Merlin continues to bend and shape events to his will. From eternally binding Arthur to the Lady in the Lake to orchestrating the abduction of Guinevere the evil sorcerer continues to isolate the young king and sow strife in his life. From her rescue at the hands of Lancelot comes the forbidden tryst that in other stories leads to the fall of Camelot, but in the world Bunn has created the adultery of Guinevere births something far more wicked.
I mentioned this point in my review of issue #2 but it needs to be said again. The ability to craft a story based on material as well known as King Arthur and have that story still shock and surprise readers is the sign of amazing talent and creativity. Cullen Bunn is at the top of his game in UNHOLY GRAIL #3 subverting expectations at every turn. Using the one key change in the story, that being the demonic possession of Merlin, Bunn has established a series of events that are solely unique to his vision and it is awesome. Every character is layered with depth and personality, even those with limited time on the page. Strong characters are backed up by a well written script that drops one hell of a cliffhanger on the last page.
Building off the strong story is the increasingly impressive art of Mirko Colak. The work he is doing in UNHOLY GRAIL might be some of the best across the entire Aftershock Comics line. The pencils and attention to detail is flawless and no corners are cut. Background landscapes are populated with small touches that makes the work feel lived in and no two faces are drawn the same. Every character is instantly recognizable and the supernatural elements are ethereal in a suitably creepy way. Finally, the way in which he draws Merlin is unsettling every single time he is on the page. UNHOLY GRAIL is fantastic and definitely worth a read. This early in the story there is still time to catch up on the first two issues so if you are interested let us know and we will get them off the shelf or order them for you.