Published on December 3rd, 2014 | by JCDoyle0
Birthright #3 – Review
There are probably a number of ways to break out of a Police Station but marching out the front door swinging a flaming, magical sword is possibly one of the more dramatic ways. And that’s exactly what Mikey does at the start of the latest issue of Birthright, with his bewildered family in tow.
Joshua Williamson starts the issue with a tender family moment: just after the birth of Mikey his parents discuss his future and what their hopes for him are while Brennan simply wants a best friend.Then it jumps to the action of the modern day and Brennan’s intervention brings the berserker like Mikey back down to Earth with a few choice words. The escape from the Police Station is marred by Wendy’s inability to accept the situation and in a touching moment both of her sons plead with her to go with them but so much has happened to her in the year since Mikey’s disappearance that she no longer knows who to believe, or who to trust.
This month’s companion piece set in the magical realm of Terrenos shows Mikeys initial attempt to return home through the frozen forest. While his new friends try to convince him that he is needed and is in fact the Chosen One, Kallista turns ups forcing them to go into hiding. Kallista can sense their presence but her attention is taken up by a fiery, demon lion type creature which she is forced to fight. And to cut a long story short, she kicks some ass. It turns out that she works for the God King Lore and is hunting Rook and the Chosen One and she is definitely not someone you would want to meet alone on a dark night.
This issue also has some explanation about the world of Terrenos and the reason Mikey has returned to Earth. It also introduces a potential villain in Ward the Betrayer. I say potential because when the reader is introduced to him, he appears to be a very unassuming old man.
The power of Joshua Williamson’s narrative comes from the fact that everything relates back to family. The struggle that Wendy has with accepting the impossible shadows the crazy antics that proceeded her scenes because it is so emotional: she is a woman, no, a mother in pain. She has lost her son and is being told to accept a complete stranger in his place, something which she is not able to do. The fact that her husband and remaining son so easily accept Mikey makes the situation worse for her. Andrei Bressan illustrates the scene outside the police station in an almost mundane manner. It’s set in a parking lot with a generic city landscape in the background, the colours are muted greys and browns and the whole sequence is set in the shadow of a large block of a building. It’s recognisable, ordinary and something the reader can instantly identify with.
Yes the magic and the mayhem are all wonderfully written and the beasts especially are majestically illustrated but the true strength of this comic lies in the Human story, the Family story. From the opening moments of the first issue the narrative has focused on how Mikey’s family have been affected by his disappearance and that theme continues through each issue. The flashback sequences not only set up the magical, destiny part of the story but also act as metaphors for the internal struggles of the leading characters. In this issue especially, the tale of Mikey looking for his way home in the snowy forest mirrors his actual homecoming: he is lost in each world, looking for his family only to be stopped in his tracks by a strong female character.
Williamson and Bressan have set up an intriguing story full of action and strong emotions. They have created a believable family with well rounded characters who each have strengths and flaws that are realistic in their depiction. If you are looking for a fantasy story with a heart wrenching story you don’t need to go much further than this.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Andrei Bressan