Published on November 7th, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Birthright #2 – Review
Imagine tearing Conan away from his home, stealing his weapons and thrusting him into a modern police station. How do you think he’d take it? I bet Joshua Williamson has thought about this because it forms the backbone of Birthright issue 2.
Inspector Brooks takes Mikey’s family to see the cache of weapons that were found with the aged man in the cell claiming to be their missing son. He shows them a table that looks like the prop department for Lord of the Rings and this encourages Brennan to pluck up the courage to speak to Mikey. His mother is dead against it but his father and Brooks think that it’s a good idea, if for no other reason than to prove the man is a fraud. As Brennan enters the cell, Mikey becomes ecstatic at seeing his older brother but Brennan isn’t convinced yet.
The story then shifts to a young Mikey training with his new family. He is shown up by the other children his age and mocked for being ‘the chosen one’. But the snow storm is getting worse and Rook decides they need to take shelter in Uzu. When they get to the city under the mountain, the bird people have have prepared for the ‘Hero’ and they greet the overwhelmed Mikey on their knees.
You may feel that the story hasn’t advanced very much in this issue, after all by the end Mikey is still in prison and his identity still hasn’t been accepted by most of those around him. However it’s the surrounding characters that have advanced the narrative this month. Aaron and Rook are both father figures to Mikey and they are both looking out for him, trying to ease him into the their respective worlds. The complementary characters don’t end there, Rya and Wendy are the doubting voices with no faith in what Mikey claims to be. They act as a devils advocate in each world casting doubt for the other characters and the readers. And finally Brennan and Karsudan are the middle ground: they want to believe but they need evidence for what they’ve been told.
Williamson spins all of these characters around, telling the same story in two genres, in two worlds to highlight the most important aspect of this story: it’s about a lost boy, torn from his family, struggling to survive in the only way he knows. Although the shocking punch of the first issue has passed, the loneliness and trauma caused by Mikey’s original disappearance still fuels the narrative despite it’s magical trappings.
Birthright has some clever character work woven into it’s fantasy fabric and appears to relish in it’s 80’s movies: this month the whole prison fight sequence harks back to the T-800’s march through a Los Angeles police station in The Terminator. It’s subtly clever by building Mikey’s character by the actions of those around him and compares and contrasts his reactions to similar situations in two very different worlds. This comic is one of those that you can read as pure entertainment or you can lose yourself in the metaphors and allegories.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Andrei Bressan