by Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan, Adriano Lucas
In the twelfth issue of Birthright the story ventures further into the pursuit of the five characters that Mikey has marked for death. He and his brother set off to Chicago in search of the next mage, while the Feds turn up the pressure on the parents of the boys in hopes of finding them. The momentum of the series takes a bit of a hit here as the book stalls for a majority of the issue. Still, the overall story and compelling final pages suggest that great things lie ahead.
The book opens with an entertaining sequence showing what might have been as Aaron steps out to slay a beast and say Mikey before he ever is lost to Terrenos. While some books toy with readers a bit more when they display such sequences, Williamson and Bressan are very clear that this brief sequence is meant to be a farce. Still, it is a light-hearted way to bring readers back into the fold. Considering just how grand and dark the book can be, moments like this can make for great levity. Unfortunately, the subsequent sequences on display in Birthright #12 fall short. The story spends a bit of time with each of the major character groups. Williamson checks in with Aaron and Wendy, informing readers of each of their present situations. While it has been a bit of time since last seeing these characters, the scenes feel a bit flat and the momentum of the issue just never really develops.
Birthright #12 feels like an issue focused more on filling readers in on some important information, closing some gaps, and putting pieces in place. While much of the information is interesting and does give readers pieces of the puzzle, the scenes feel more positioned to pass that along than anything truly organic. The scenes feel more necessary for development than natural. Still, the information gleaned and the characters present during these sequences still speak to the caliber of ideas on display in the series. Williamson’s overarching plot continues to impress. Bressan’s art is similarly underwhelming in the issue, but that is mostly due to the nature of the issue and its more tamed script.
In the final pages of the book, however, the energy returns. Not only do the brothers come across their next target, but readers are presented with a reveal that is really fantastic. Not only does it have excellent narrative weight and some serious shock value, but it is also the best visual moment of the issue. Bressan’s design of the final page, along with brilliant colors from Lucas really help pull the issue up in its final moments and reinvigorate the excitement of the series as it leads into the next issue. It is that ending tease that gives indication that what lies ahead will surely impress.