Disclaimer: this review will be filled with spoilers galore, proceed at your own peril!
On the surface, Birthright is a very familiar story: a champion from Earth destined to vanquish a great evil and free the mystical land. The tale is far being straightforward and black and white. Michael “Mikey” Rhodes was an average little boy when he was taken to Terrenos by the freedom fighters and returned to Earth a victorious yet battle-hardened man with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Time flows faster in Terrenos than it does 0n Earth: a year on Earth is approximately 20-30 years on Terrenos. His disappearance also shattered his family; it left Aaron Rhodes, his father, accused of his murder and an alcoholic to cope with the ordeal; his mother left his father believing Aaron had done the unthinkable; and Brennan Rhodes, his older brother, was left to deal with the loss of his baby brother, the fracture of his parents’ marriage, and bullying at school.
His miraculous return only plunged his family into deeper chaos. Mikey was revealed to be an agent of Lore (the monstrous despot he was “destined” to defeat) and infected with the Nevermind, an extension of Lore that “guides” him. His purpose on Earth was to murder the five mages who created a barrier that prevents Lore from entering Earth. He enlisted the aid of Brennan and Aaron on his mission. His mother — still in shock over her sweet little boy returning as a hulking bearded barbarian — opted to not join. Mickey is able to murder two mages, Ward and Kylen, but not without revealing his true colors; first to Brennan and then the rest of his family. Aaron’s father, Sameal, turns out to be one of the mages and he is forced to slay Enoch, his fellow mage and friend, to protect his grandson. The only female mage, Mastema, is the opportunistic daughter of Lore (who bears a strong resemblance to Mickey in his youth). She informed Rya, (Mickey’s lover/mother of his child/fellow freedom fighter) and his mother that Mickey isn’t the chosen one, and that they made it up to give the freedom fighters hope and Lore was the true chosen one of Terrenos.
What I love:
How gray the world is! The mages, more or less, gave up on Terrenos and left the freedom fighters to fend for themselves. Despite preventing Lore from entering Earth, they left their people to suffer while they enjoy relatively better lives. Kylen murders an entire SWAT team to frame Mikey. Mastema contemplates betraying the mages and returning to Lore to save her own skin. Mikey willingly let Lore infect him for his chance to return to his family. He understands what he must do but he’s conflicted. The sadness and regret is so tangible when his old and new family reject him when his deeds are revealed. Lore believes that he’s doing what he must to accomplish his vision of a peaceful Terrenos. Kallista is a foreshadowing of Mikey’s eventual choice. Like him, she was a freedom fighter who became a host of the Nevermind and agent of Lore. It seems like she relishes in the heinous acts. Brennan’s attempt to exercise the Nevermind is also a foreshadow of Sameal’s attempt. Mikey is far more crafty and calculating than his “brutish barbarian” appearance.
What I don’t dig:
Waiting 30+ days for new issues!
Where can you get it?