COMIC BOOK REVIEW: BIRTHRIGHT VOLUME 1: HOMECOMING / AUTHOR: JOSHUA WILLIAMSON / ARTIST: ANDREI BRESSAN, ADRIANO LUCAS / PUBLISHER: IMAGE / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 17TH
When the Rhodes family’s youngest son disappears, they are devastated; as the relationships fall apart, blame and accusations are pointed directly at his father, the last person to see Mikey alive before he vanished into the woods. A year later, a man claiming to be Mikey is held by police, but this can’t possibly be the missing boy. He’s too old, for one thing, and looks more like an extra from Conan. He’s equipped like one too, with a huge array of weapons. Yet, Mikey’s father can recognise his son, who has quite a tale to tell, one of years spent in a fantastical land called Terrenos.
It’s an interesting twist, but merely the first of many elegant turns the plot takes. This volume collects the initial five issue arc, and there’s a moment at the end of the first that will make eyes widen at what is an ingenious development. Certainly, it’ll have readers turning to the next page, desperate to know more and possibly pitying those who had to wait four weeks find out what happens next. Above all, it shows the quality of the plotting; here is a story that bends and twists our expectations by beginning with the hero returning to the normal world, taking the step back through the wardrobe, coping with the aftermath of spending time in Oz.
Writer Joshua Williamson brings us two adventures, the present interspersing with Mikey’s arrival in Terrenos. Here we find the usual archetypes – the gruff mentor, for instance – gathered in a fantasy world of mythical beasts and a dark overlord. It’s a joy to behold; Andrei Bressan’s artwork is superbly imaginative, accompanied by stunning colour work from Adriano Lucas, creating a palpable atmosphere in every scene. What occurs in Terrenos is fascinating, but so too is the normal world, touching on family bonds and love, as his parents and brother find themselves tested to the limit. Again, the art and story combine to make our own world equally as thrilling, ensuring that every page is a delight.
Birthright is a wonderful tale of two very different and separate worlds, one that never falters in entertaining its readers while adding fresh ideas to the concept of destiny and what might happen when the magical adventure comes to an end.
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