Comic Book Review: Birthright #31
February, let that sink in as the last time that we had Birthright to look forward to. For me, it was a tragic break from one of my favorite series out there. There have been a few books that stole my attention as unique forms of fantasy, but truthfully none of them will ever be as bold and fantastical as this series. This one challenges destiny, family, and the boundaries between what is possible and impossible. Issue #30 brought one battle to a close, but set another one up that is just as personal for the Rhodes family.
From the start of this issue, we were given a quick reminder of what was lost in that last skirmish against Lore and his subject. When the reality hit me that Brennan was the unfortunate soul left behind, I remembered quickly why these were trying times. It was one thing when Mikey was in danger. He can handle himself for the most part. However, Brennan is an upstart mage, with unreliable powers at best currently. Not the best position to be in when under the thumb of someone powerful enough to rival Mikey. With that said, I think this was the most engaging line of dialogue we’ve gotten out of Kallista. Without a fight, there was much more room to grasp what makes her tick, and what drives her actions. By the end of this issue we got the best understanding of who this character is at the core. Very important considering how hard the Rhodes family will be coming after her to save Brennan.
As with most issues of Birthright, our understanding of Terrenos and the characters who live(d) there cam from events of the past. It made a big difference to finally see the story of how Mastema grew up with her father. The way she trained to become a witch was creative to their world. Its nothing new the way that they accessed magic, but at the same time it is the lesser route taken which is something to appreciate. Through this flashback we could see the path she could have gone down, and at the same time we saw the path that she was actually set to take based on her decision-making skills at a young age. That’s not to say she was the little monster, because I felt caught off guard by a lot of things she did for the sake of rebelling. You think of that one rebellious little snot, and she was cranked to eleven. In contrast to the rest of the Mages, we were definitely given a reason to fear her more than anyone else.
As a pick-up to the story, I felt that the story told here was the best way to jump back into this universe. There was very little that you felt like you missed. Some creative teams will throw you back into the thick of it all, but I admire those more who will take the time to ease us back in. There is nothing wrong with taking it easy. Pacing is everything when you’ve already waited this long for the next issue.
The artwork was of course impressive. This art team only benefited from the break when it is just as crucial for them to get that refresher. There was a lot to take from this issue. One of those things involved Kallista. It was very interesting to see just how jacked of a warrior she really is. Seeing her without the bulk of her armor really said a lot about why she is so formidable. It also helped to see a little more “humanity” from her so to speak, without the corruption of Lore overtaking most of her skin. When we are just seeing Kallista bare, we are seeing personality and opinion without influence. It was also pretty shocking to see what she originally looked like when younger. As for Mastema, everything about her appearance as a kid screamed “demon child”. She still had a classy sense of style as well at that young age. It was very fitting that she wore primarily red when a lot of her spells had the tendency of being fire based. The warm colors overall because of that were spectacular. The added contrasting colors and blur effects helped as well to create the idea that these are mystic flames, and intense flames. Plenty of the other colors stood out as well for the fantastical nature of them. Lucas does not hold back in taking advantage of his unique pallet.
Birthright #31 was an excellent starting point for the new story arc. We got two character explorations for the price of one story told. A big accomplishment if you ask me. Nothing is black and white in this universe, and I love that about what it means for each and every one of these characters to fight for what they believe in.