By Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan, and Adriano Lucas
Birthright was one of the best new comics of 2014 and issue #5 is a great conclusion to its tremendous first arc. This issue has it all with a conclusion to the Razorbeast fight in Terrenos, a fantastic fight sequence between Mikey and Ward, and a great surprise ending that keeps the reader hooked for the next arc. The creative team behind Birthright has done a masterful job, making this a must-buy every month.
Williamson is great at mixing fantasy with real-world family and coming of age story aspects, allowing the reader to empathize with the main characters in a way that many fantasy stories cannot. This issue highlights more of the sibling relationship between Mikey and Brennan. You can’t help but root for Mikey to be able to reunite with his family, but whatever is controlling him may never allow that. Williamson has hinted in the Terrenos and Earth story lines that perhaps Mikey allowed himself to be possessed and that could provide for fantastic plot points down the road if Mikey did something horrible to the people of Terrenos in order to return to Earth. One of the best parts of the storytelling in this issue is the small revelations that come from the greater action sequences in each of the simultaneous story lines. Often times the dialogue during or after the fight scenes tells more about the overall story than the result of the fight itself.
Andrei Bressan does a fantastic job conveying the epic scope of the storytelling in his art. The scenes in Terrenos feel other-worldly as the forms and the scale seem more grandiose. Meanwhile the sequences that take place on Earth feel normal, until the characters unleash the powers of Terrenos. Mikey’s fight scenes throughout the series have been fantastic and the finale between Mikey and the wizard, Ward, is no different. Also, every frame with Mikey and the demon possessing him is amazing. Adriano Lucas’ coloring shines during the fight scenes as well. Specifically during the fight with Ward, the change in coloring from when Ward controls the fight until when Mikey wields The Flaming Sword of Mount Blood (great name!) was a neat way to highlight the progression of the battle. Also worth noting about the coloring is that it seems that the bad guys in this story are sharing similar red hues and everyone else is in more neutral, natural colors.
There has been some moral ambiguity surrounding Mikey’s choices but with each passing issue it becomes more clear that perhaps Mikey hasn’t aligned himself with the right side. All together this is another awesome entry in the Birthright series. April can’t come soon enough!