REVIEW: Birthright #3

Story: Josh Williamson
Art: Andrei Bressan
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: December 3, 2014

This new fantasy title from Image’s Skybound imprint is shaping up to be something special. It’s the story of young Mikey, a regular kid, who on his tenth birthday happens upon a destiny neither he or his family is ready for him to undertake.

Birthright is about as believable as a book with a villain named God King Lore can get; it’s like Hook, except Neverland happens to be invading the real world and Peter Pan wields a huge glowing greatsword and fights off FBI agents. It’s pretty incredible stuff from rising star Joshua Williamson, whose recent hits Ghosted and Nailbiter should really be on your pull list.

Issue #3 further explains what happened to Mikey the day he disappeared. In earth time, he was only gone for a year, but it’s apparent that much more than has passed in Terrenos. Y’see, Mikey left a boy and returned as Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Well, not really, but the physique is more or less spot on.

The great thing about this book is the altogether human reactions that many of the characters have to Mikey’s return. There’s his dad, the last person to see Mikey before he vanished and who was the first to recognize his much more mature son. In the interim he’d fallen into depression and drinking as the authorities accused him of killing the boy. And I can’t forget Mikey’s mom, who blamed her husband as well, and still doesn’t believe the account of the man claiming to be her lost boy.

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Which brings me to my next point; thus far we’ve been switching from the present and back to Mikey’s time in Terrenos, via flashback sequences. The thing is there’s really no definitive way yet to know if this is long-haired armor clad man is indeed Mikey. The way the story unfolds, in spite of his father’s confidence, we as the audience just don’t know. Throw in his mother’s skepticism and you’ve got a relatively perfect mystery. Dad could just be desperate and willing to accept anything to fill the hole that developed when Mikey disappeared.  That uncertainty pushes you to keep turning the pages in the hopes that some thing, some inarguable fact will lay the matter to rest once and for all.

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Bressan’s art is dark and gritty in spurts, but has a vitality to it that’s a lot like Nick Pitarra’s work on The Manhattan Projects. The panels pop and you never forget for moment that you’re reading a fantasy/action book. The lighting effects are phenomenal and really add an ethereal quality to the story.

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If you haven’t gotten your hands on Birthright already, go out immediately and pick this one up. And make sure to add it to your pull list from now on.

By. A.C.

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