"Birthright #17" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Joshua Williamson
Illustrated by Andrei Bressan
Colored by Adriano Lucas
2016, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on July 13th, 2016
Mikey, the Chosen One, lays unconscious on a table as two mages from Terrenos argue over what to do with him. Samuel, Mikey's grandfather, believes there's hope for the boy, but Enoch sees things differently. After all, he willingly succumbed to Lore and as a result, our world could be taken over by his evil. Meanwhile, the Nevermind that has been guiding Mikey since he returned to Earth has been set free and it is one nasty beast.
You can get a glimpse of the Nevermind untethered from its human host on the cover of this issue. Artist Andrei Bresson has designed an unholy abomination. You can see the outline of a man, but it's like a cancer has overridden the body, causing limbs to grow out of control. Muscles bulge. Tendrils spew out. It has a lobster-like claw for a left arm. Everything about it is intimidating and terrifying. Adriano Lucas rounds out this nightmare with his colors. The Nevermind is a bright red, the color of Satan. Its eyes glow yellow in rage.
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The debate between Samuel and Enoch is riveting. On the one hand you have a man that was never there for his family. Instead, he was out adventuring in another world, trying to stop the evil from taking it over. As a result, he never saw his son grow up and in turn, didn't meet his grandsons for some time. I am curious how Samuel appears to be a relatively normal age for a grandfather when time moves so much faster in Terrenos. That's why Mikey is now an adult when he left only one year ago. Wouldn't Samuel be ancient? Or is it magic? It's probably magic.
On the other hand, Enoch's argument is that Mikey is a danger to both worlds and he's already made his bed when he accepted the Nevermind. The boy is too far gone to be saved, but that's not something Samuel can accept. Regardless of his deadbeat granddad status, Mikey is his flesh and blood. Enoch calls him out on it to the point where the two mages are about to come to blows.
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I'll never grow tired of Bressan's depictions of Terrenos. There is a breathtaking double-page spread early on in this issue featuring all of the mages in battle. These aren't your stereotypical robed magic users you'd get out of your average game of Dungeons and Dragons. Each is unique and devastatingly powerful, commanding the flora and fauna around them to do their bidding in war. Tons of orc-like soldiers lay dead in the foreground.
Birthright is a dynamite story about family wrapped in an epic fantasy adventure with creatures ripped right out of a horror movie. Writer Joshua Williamson can make even a seemingly hospitable conversation between two old friends appear tense and full of excitement. Old grudges and disagreements bubble up to the surface, as they know just how to piss the other off. All the while, it might not even matter if pure evil escapes.