Within the last few weeks there has been tons of news about superhero movies and their respective comics. This makes it easy to forget that there are many other genres of comics. Skybound and Image Comics released their first issue of their new fantasy series, Birthright. At first look this comic is a fantasy story with monsters, far away mythical lands and evil spirits. What is different from other fantasy-style comics is that our protagonist, a young boy named Mikey, is taken from Earth and returned to it as a Conan-the-Barbarian-looking adult in the first issue.
Joshua Williamson expertly weaves two very different story lines in the first issue. The first dealing with the family of Mikey Rhodes as they search for their missing son and eventually fall apart from despair and mistrust while the other follows Mikey’s recount of his departure to Terrenos and his adventures it’s prophesied hero.
Williamson’s characters all feel completely realized and fleshed out making it easy for the reader to emphasize with the pain and anger of Mikey’s family and to give the feel that the creatures inhabiting the world of Terrenos are real. The challenges that both sets of characters face in each story line feel natural. This gives the characters the best chance to reveal who they are and what they are feeling without having a bunch of “talking head” moments.
The art style of Birthright fits well with the genre the story falls into. Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas are capable of capturing the emotions of all the characters, both human and fantasy, wonderfully. The details in the environment are crisp and add an extra layer of realism.
The color palette works great as well. Earth is painted in natural colors. The darker tone give a crime-drama feel to what is happening to the Rhodes family. Terrenos is splashed with yellows, oranges, reds, greys and blacks to give a truly fantasy world look. The two page spread of the Terrenos landscape filled with flying monsters, lava pits and golems was definitely an eye-catcher that made me pause to really take it all in.
With several other genres not normally associated with a fantasy story mixed in, Birthright has a very promising start. The cliffhanger that the comics ends on will certainly have readers wanting to come back to see what happens next. Will we see more of Mikey’s travels in Terrenos and what his return to Earth means for his family?
-By Joseph Murillo