Unholy Grail by writer Cullen Bunn, published by Aftershock comics, gives us a different twist on the King Arthur tale. In Bunn’s new series, Merlin is a demon and Arthur is not the heroic figure we usually hear about. This comic approaches what the King Arthur legend would be like if it was a horror story.
Unholy Grail begins with a lone knight lamenting how far he and his fellows have fallen. He questions how they could have failed. The art portrays gruesome imagery of wars lost. The story then shifts back in time to when Arthur was a young child and his father Uther was on his death bed. Meanwhile, while Merlin is on his way to the castle to assist with Uther, he encounters a demon and informs that demon that he is the son of the devil himself. Needless to say, the demon is not impressed. He takes over Merlin’s body. Things only take a darker turn as Merlin has decided to teach a young Arthur how to be king. However, he teaches him how to be the kind of king a demon would like.
Cullen’s writing style easily draws you into the dark world he has created. Here there is no story of hope or heroes. This is a bleak world with evil at its core. Mirko Colak’s art style looks like one would expect of an Arthurian Legend, layered with the kind of gritty and dark imagery that really sets the scene for a horror story. (Note that some of the gore depicted is a little graphic in nature.)
Overall, the first issue of Unholy Grail has an interesting storyline with a refreshing twist on a story that has been told many times over the centuries. This issue sets up the backstory. There isn’t too much action yet, but it certainly drew me in. I am looking forward to seeing how the story fleshes out in upcoming issues. I highly recommend this comic to anyone who would like to see a new take on the King Arthur legend. Unholy Grail will be available on July 5, 2017.
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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