BIRTHRIGHT #45, available from Image Comics on July 22nd, follows the aftermath of Lore’s death as Mikey and his parents race to close the portal that joins Earth and Terrenos. Joshua Williamson has written a nail-biter with his co-creator artist, Andrei Bressan, that keeps you guessing if they’ll make it until the very last page.
Bressan has hidden little, subtle hints in the cover about the plot of the book. Blood flows from a fresh battle, a new day dawns, and a mother cradles her child. These small elements Bressan peppers into a single image summarize the plot beautifully.
Hang on to your butt because there’s a lot of speed going in 30+ pages. Williamson places characters like a Grandmaster in chess, continually moving and yet thinking twenty moves ahead. Mikey’s parents race to get the sigil in place on the Terrenos side of the portal. Brennan pushes the limits of magic beyond anything done before to close the portals in record time. And the monsters scramble to retreat through the portal and straight into Mikey’s parents.
Williamson’s story reads like a top-notch action movie where all the pieces have to fall into place, or it spells doom for the characters, and of course, a little wrinkle at the end sets up a perfectly executed cliffhanger on the last page. This is a high-adrenaline issue.
Bressan’s artwork is surprisingly detailed when you consider the amount of thick line work used in this issue. It’s an interesting contrast. Bressan uses thick line borders for characters and objects to create a high contrast between them and their surroundings. That contrast gives the object of focus a dramatic weight. Bressan then uses fine lines to flesh out the details within the border. It gives the characters and almost embossed texture that’s very striking and visually interesting.
What’s equally striking is Bressan’s design for magic casting, “magic mode” looks like Brennan is on fire with energy and spells. It’s a unique look, and again, visually exciting.
Adriano Lucas’ color work pops throughout the whole issue, particularly when magic spells and portals are cast. When Mikey’s parents step through a portal on the first page, the panel practically flares out with light, energy, and power. When Brennan is casting his spells, the energy streaks, flares, and blurs in such a way that it keeps your eyes glued right to the image. Impressive work.
Pat Brosseau’s lettering works well for keeping the reader’s eye moving through the panels without bogging down the pace. What’s not obvious is Brosseau’s subtle execution of the use of italics whenever the speaker is speaking with urgency or multi-tasking. It’s a small trick, but what it does is provide an element of urgency to the words that you wouldn’t otherwise get unless you could hear it in the speaker’s voice.
BIRTHRIGHT #45, available from Image Comics on July 22nd, is an adrenaline-pumping, visually fascinating issue in the series. The story has great character interactions with a lot of heart as everyone races to the goal, and the artwork practically glows.