Unholy Grail #5 Review: A Kingdom Falls

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King Arthur Pendragon must decide whether or not to slay his son, Mordred, in front of his mistress, Morgana la Fey. Either option is tragedy, and Merlin says that the Lady of the Lake will put a plague upon the land if Mordred lives.

Meanwhile, Guinevere and Lancelot console one another for their faced tragedies.

With a plague coming upon the land, Merlin sends the King and his Knights of the Roundtable on a quest for the Holy Grail of Christ.

Unholy Grail #5 cover by Mirko Colak and Maria Santaolalla
Unholy Grail #5 cover by Mirko Colak and Maria Santaolalla

Unholy Grail #5 brings the story to a close in a grim, bloody, and satisfying manner. It brings about the expected ending of the Arthurian Legend, only contextualizing it differently with the demonic Merlin and Lovecraftian Lady of the Lake. This is, of course, what the entire series has been, being another in a line of old tales writer Cullen Bunn has enjoyed toying with between this, Dark Ark, and, to a point, Harrow County.

Bunn has proven quite good at this, even if some do run into issues (see also my two reviews Dark Ark #3 and Dark Ark #4). Unholy Grail may be his most intriguing effort, though I do adore Harrow County.

The ending to the Arthurian Legend has always been morbid, but Unholy Grail punctuates the story with absolute despair and tragedy. I quite enjoyed it.

It is a grueling read, with much death, bloodshed, and bankruptcy of morals. Many characters do try to do something good with their endings, but it appears too late for Camelot and Avalon. There are many striking battle scenes filled with gore and death that stuck out through the read.

Mirko Colak's art brings these scenes, as well as the rest of the comic, to life in a gritty and grueling manner. His work perfectly fits the tone and world being weaved in the story. Maria Santaolalla's color work keeps things oppressive and dirty-looking to boot. The two pull together for a beautifully dark world in Unholy Grail.

With the conclusion to the series, Unholy Grail goes out with a bloody, morose whimper, and it absolutely works. This is some of writer Cullen Bunn's best work, and Colak and Santaolalla contribute some great work to boot. I highly recommend this issue, though you could also wait a few months for the trade release. I'd recommend reading it now, personally. Of course, I'm not the most patient person.
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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.