After a tragedy, you have to wonder if you could go back in time and avoid it altogether. What would the world be like? What would you be like? How would you feel if that pain was erased? Suddenly, Mikey and his family are put in that position as Lore’s daughter, Mastema attempts to destroy both Earth and Terrenos and create a new, perfect world in its place. Move over, Thanos. We’ve got a new big bad and she doesn’t need any fancy glove to get this done.
Birthright #40 deals with massive, world-ending action and all of that is very impressive. What sets this book apart is the emotional family dynamic that has always been at its heart. Mikey’s family went through a year of absolute heartbreak when he disappeared. While he was growing up and becoming a warrior, his parents got divorced. Here’s a chance to hit the reset button and that is so very tempting.
Artist Andrei Bressan draws one of the best sequences of his entire run and brought a tear to my eye. No, it wasn’t a big battle with fantastical monsters or magical powers. It was a simple moment of a father and son reuniting. It was beautiful. Bressan summed up a father’s love for his son in a few amazing panels that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.
Letterer Pat Brosseau adds to this too with a perfect exclamation of excitement. This is how a child reacts when they see someone they love and it shows.
What made this moment all the better was how much it was earned. We’ve spent 40 issues building up to something like this and the payoff is huge. Writer Joshua Williamson has created some very real characters here. We’re deeply invested in their lives and that includes the ups and the downs. We’ve seen quite a few downs over this journey so it’s great to see a positive note here.
This is felt in the comic itself too. Mastema has a biased view of humanity and love in general since she was raised by a monster. She doesn’t understand how a father could feel this way about his child because she’s never experienced anything like that.
Although I can read about these like this all day, Birthright has quite a bit of action rocketing it forward. Two worlds are colliding here, remember. Colorist Adriano Lucas reinforces this world-ending tone with some bright, fiery colors. There are these bursts of yellows and reds that mix with the blues and purples of magic users. These colors pop on the page, drawing the eye and underscoring the importance of magic being used.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Joshua Williamson comic without some twists and turns. Birthright #40 ends with a whopper of a cliffhanger ending that’s going to set the series up for one amazing finale. Quick side note, I just found out this book is ending in ten issues and I’m devastated. In any case, it appears that the family dynamic is still as strong as ever, playing a central part in Birthright as things get absolutely crazy.