by Joshua Williamson, Andrei Bressan, and Adriano Lucas
The creators of Birthright left the book on quite the cliffhanger last month. After a brief page on Terranos, the story returns to that very moment and thrusts readers into the midst of a wild issue. The size of the universe and the players involved grow each time, and yet this book still manages to provide a feeling as though things have only just begun.
The first conflict between Mikey and Ward was fantastic, but could have led readers to believe that Mikey truly is the legendary fighter he was told he would become as a boy. While he had many mages to still fight, it felt as though this might be a by-the-numbers process over several issues. Williamson, however, kept the story from jumping right to the next fight. When he finally does make this jump, it unfolds quite differently as Mikey faces off against Sameal in Birthright #13. The dagger-wielding warrior is a much more agile fighter, and the conflict is crafted so well. From almost the very beginning, Mikey is on his back foot and it is apparent that Ward was not representative of how capable the rest of the mages would be.
Andrei Bressan does a magnificent job with the issue. While many artists utilize more chaotic layouts, leaving no room between panels, Bressan maintains the same intensity while keeping the structure of the page intact. At times, breaking panels and using a more loose layout can help increase the sense of movement in an action sequence. Bressan’s approach manages to feel just as kinetic while maintaining a cleaner page. In a way, the action sequences are clearer and readers can get even more out of every moment. Adriano Lucas’s colors are a major factor in how these sequences come together. Birthright certainly looks like no other book on the shelves right now with Lucas using an incredibly unique palette. As if readers needed a refresher in just how excellent the two are together, this issue features an early double-page spread that is really wonderful.
The conflict between the two champions stretches over nearly the entire chapter, and yet the book has even more to offer. Williamson has inserted a number of excellent layers to Birthright over the course of the series. Not only are there multiple groups to follow in addition to the history of events on Terranos, but also there is a really fantastic weight to everything as a result of the players working in secret. The spirits who have contacted and are speaking with Brennan, the Nevermind infecting Mikey, and the secret identity of Kylen each lend to a bit more complexity. As such, there is an element of unpredictability in each issue.
Birthright #13 both advances the story and features the title’s best action sequence in both script and art. During the battle, Sameal’s blades trigger a flurry of images that depict the boy Mikey once was, scared and crying in the woods. Intriguingly, the creators include one image here that had not been shown before, and it provides a glimpse into what may have happened the day he attempted to take on the God King Lore. The brief panel, along with another solid cliffhanger will have readers clamoring for the next issue.