Writer – Joshua Williamson
Artist – Andrei Bressan
Colourist – Adriano Lucas
Letterer – Pat Brosseau
Birthright #32 offers strong character moments, great visuals and some interesting teases for what is to come. Will the next several issues offer the best written and drawn conflict the creative team have offered thus far? If Brennan’s training has been going as well as Williamson leads us to believe then it certainly seems like the siblings are bound to have a promising clash. With this latest installment, Birthright continues to be one of those rare ongoing titles where a dip in the amount of action and key revelations isn’t mirrored by a dip in the reader’s level of intrigue or excitement. The subversion of pacing issues and stagnant exposition is a testament to both the quality of writing and the artwork.
When the Nevermind first left Mikey, I had some reservations that his character could morph in a archetypal fantasy hero. It’s refreshing that his role in the story is not so clear cut. Especially since his experiences in Terranos and the mistakes he has made define him. It’s no surprise that he wishes to steer clear of magic. William successfully builds anticipation of what Mikey and Brennan’s dynamic will warp into, ironically, through each sibling’s interactions with other characters. Michael’s interaction with his mother and Samael displayed how he is still just as emotional about everything he has lost because of magic as when he was under the Nevermind’s influence. On the other hand, Brennan has almost swapped places with his brother; being the one under the influence of both evil and a dark nefarious character. It will be fun to see how much of Brennan’s coming story parallels what we saw from his brother earlier in the story. It is very likely that Brennan will do some equally regrettable things with his magic.
In summary, Bressan and Williamson continue the strong character and world building, reinforcing our protagonists’ motivations while teasing what lies ahead. I’m already speculating what the lost city of Ea is and what part Ramal will play in the upcoming issue. On first reading the standout from the art was easily the cliffhanger closeup; particularly the detailing in and around the eyes. However, on the second reading I also appreciated the way the artist captured the conflict with the Hex Hellions. Furthermore, the backdrop of the desert sharply and the colour palette sharply contrasted from the ambience of the shaman temple. The pace may have slowed down, but the only thing that could have been improved is the involvement of Brennan and Mikey’s father. He didn’t speak at all, even though the main conversation was about his missing son. This could have been fixed by showing him trying to encourage Michael. Alternatively, it might have worked better if the creative team had included a panel that accurately summed up his emotional response through his facial expression alone. Regardless, I’m chomping at the bit for more Birthright and so it’s no surprise I’m giving it 8 wingless Rya’s out of 10.
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