Comic Book Review: Birthright #32
Our return to the series last month was a big info dump for those who were prepared to finally come to understand where Mastema came from. It made sense of what pushed her to become one of the Five Mages and oppose her father. It also made sense of everything troublesome about her personality. The big question left was what that was setting us up for, and what we could still expect to learn moving forward about others who have been shrouded in mystery.
Catching up with the Rhodes family was just as you expected from the atmosphere surrounding them. It was right at the point following their fight with Lore and the Nevermind to save Mikey. I enjoyed what this set up for the family with Mikey being freed, and Brennan being taken in his place. There was room to breathe knowing that Mikey was no longer a liability or danger to those he loved, but now another son was lost and plenty of other things to address. And those things to address just so happened to be about Mikey and what he has not been upfront about. Who couldn’t love the part that Wendy has consistently played throughout this series? She wasn’t fully convinced of this craziness at first, then she was, but then at the same time this never once stopped her from challenging the things that should still make sense. Her ability to ask the right questions and be blunt about it gets us where we need to be without the runaround. As our main character, it sucks that Mikey will be the guy in the hot-seat, but that was the bed that he made for himself for better or for worse in his mind.
How the family came together in these moments was one of the most uplifting scenes as of yet. Not everyone is well equipped for the journey they are undertaking, but the theme of family triumphs everything else when it comes to saving their own.
Taking a hint from the cover image of this issue, this month’s flashback was easy to figure out. This time around we would be taking a trip back to Terrenos, though this time when Mikey was still young and traveling with Rook. The point in time that they chose was clever for the multiple things they addressed at once in once scene. We needed to know what got Rook from point A to point B, but we also needed to know what was keeping Mikey from taking that next step to begin the search for Brennan and Kallista. It was a quick scene, but it sent the right message for Mikey, even if he was allowing fear to get the best of him.
Now the strongest development in this issue came from the small progress put into the travels of Brennan and Kallista. I don’t think anyone would be prepared for what two weeks could do for both of them, I surely was not. You have to appreciate that at this point it really is anything goes. Especially when magic is involved. For as much as I like many characters in this story, it was always Brennan who grabbed my attention most once he unlocked his magical potential. We saw what it was like when he fully released that power, and what it looks like when in conjuncture with the Diviner. Now was the time to see what it is like when that magic is harnessed by different means.
This was another appealing issue visually. I like when we have these issues where the art team can consistently stretch their legs with stunning visuals without leaning to action. The interior of the monk’s cave was still awesome for the array of colors that mix a mystic glow with something a bit more grotesque having fleshy colors. The spread that we start on in the flashback to Terrenos was captivating with natural colors and scenery, not to mention the added uniqueness of a new creature introduced. The cross between fantasy and a bit mechanical created something that we haven’t seen yet. Now the last page? That close-up face shot was probably the most trippy picture drawn in the series so far. Not a word I thought I would use for Birthright, but here we are because of such a distinguished use of colors that you don’t see anywhere else.
Birthright #32 was a mixed bag of feelings about this family’s next step in reclaiming their lives. They find a new spark of motivation to move forward, they tackle the things still holding them back, and they re-affirm what is most important to them at the end of the day. The development with Brennan and Kallista at the end was just the icing on the cake.