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Review: Unholy Grail #3

Cullen Bunn (creator/writer) and Mirko Colak (artist) continue their Lovecraftian retelling of the King Arthur legends in Unholy Grail #3. The series so far has transformed Merlin into a demon, the Lady of the Lake into a siren-like creature, and the Holy Grail into, well, exactly what is says on the can. Issue three focuses on the relationship between Arthur and his new bride Guinevere. Almost instantaneously, the couple break their marital vows and Arthur promised his heart to the Lady of the Lake, and Guinevere offers herself up to Lancelot after he rescues her from a lair of demons.

While some of the motivations have changed, much of the story remains the same as ever, following a disappointingly predictable plot from beginning to end. Even some tropes that have been largely abandoned remain: an all-white, all straight, all attractive cast, and the sighing female who is helpless without her burly, bearded champion.

What makes Unholy Grail worth your time is the art. Fans of horror and especially demonic disemboweling will enjoy every issue of Unholy Grail so far, and #3 continues to deliver. Every time I began to think “Why am I reading another Arthur book?” the Lovecraftian horror returned and I was reminded why I picked this up in the first place. Along with colorist Maria Santaolalla, Colak makes use of color, form, and even shaking up the panel formats to bring you a bloody massacre that nearly pops off the page. Simon Bowland’s lettering adds to the art style with dramatically different speech patterns between the mortals and the demons that have joined them on Earth.

What is really going to keep me coming back for more Unholy Grail, though, is the twist on the Guinevere /Morgan La Fay dichotomy. Without spoiling too much of the book, issue #3 ends with a rather unique connection between the two—the first plot point in the series so far that has entirely diverged from the classic Arthurian legend.

Love the lettering: shows mortal versus demonic/other worldly.

Creator/Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Mirko Colak
Color: Maria Santaolalla Letters: Simon Bowland Editor: Mike Marts
Story: 7 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review