Published on May 13th, 2015 | by JCDoyle0
Birthright #7 Review
“If you see a sword, you shoot!”
There is a lot of gun totting action in this month’s jam packed issue of Birthright. Gone are the days of emotional character building as they have been replaced by the type of character who shoots at anything and anyone that is out of the norm. This may fit one or two of the situations, after all you can understand why one of the police station survivors might get trigger happy when faced with another larger than life, sword wielding intruder but does everyone in rural America really use firearms to deal with possible thieves?
Part of the reason for the gun play is that Mikey and Brennan are doing a lot of stealing. This issue opens on a quiet, lonely camp site where a couple are turning in for the night. The man is reminded that he has left the fire burning so he unzips the tent to discover that the fire is all that remains of their belongings; everything has been half inched*. This isn’t the first camp site that’s been robbed and when Mikey and Brennan get to some sort of civilisation, the shotgun wielding stereotypes put two and two together.
However before they are able to act, another simple robbery goes wrong. Mikey is searching for two daggers that have come through the portal from Terrenos and will help him on his quest to find the other Mages in hiding. They find the daggers in a small out of the way store and instead of talking to the owner, Mikey decides that breaking in and taking what he wants is the best course of action. This is obviously perfect child reasoning, it’s the reason that horror films are full of teenagers and not sensible adults. Obviously this goes askew and what happens forms the cliff-hanger ending. And it would have been a jaw dropping ending if not for the fact that so many guns were put into play in this issue that it became a little obvious where it was all going to end.
In the back up stories, Wendy starts her search for her two son’s using copies of Mikey’s diaries left to her by Agent Brooks. This makes for a clever narrative technique to tell more of Mikey’s adventures in Terrenos. And Mikey’s pregnant ex causes as much trouble with the police as he did.
There is plenty of action in this issue mixed with some soul searching moments, all of which are wonderfully illustrated by Andrei Bressan. In fact there is as much emotional expression in the scenes of violence as there is in the awkward meetings between characters. Unfortunately the increase in action is at the expense of the story. Too much of this issue lacks the narrative strength of previous issues and a number of scenes are fuelled by obvious plot devices that stand out a mile.
One of the other problems emerging since the start of the second arc is that there isn’t really a likable main character. Mikey has been made into something of a bastard and the background of his life in Terrenos isn’t helping his cause. The flashback in this issue shows that in less than a year of being in this other realm he has already become a master of slaughter: any sympathy you may have had for him is dissolved in this sequence.
Joshua Williamson has mastered the art of surprising the readers, especially with shocking cliff-hangers however I think that some of the interesting character work from the early issues is being lost for the sake of this sensationalism. This comic still has some legs but only if Williamson doesn’t let them run away from him.
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Andrei Bressan
*cockney rhyming slang for pinched