‘Birthright Volume 1: Homecoming’ - TPB Review

When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back.

Lots of folks have wondered which worlds lie at the back of old closets ever since C. S. Lewis first gave us a glance at Narnia.  A day trip in the outside world, no one the wiser that the children had lived full, adventurous lives and returned a few hours later.  A clean, well-tied up tale.  Not so in Joshua Williamson’s high fantasy adventure.  What if you crossed into that other world, and you didn’t come back?  What happens to those left behind?  And, what happens when something comes the other way?

Williamson spins a tale of the darker side of magical other worlds, where the child who leaves to be the chosen one leaves behind a shattered and broken family and accusations and downward spirals fill out the all-too-real idea of a child’s disappearance.  When there are too many assumptions: how can a child just vanish?  Something must have happened, because the world we live in is too controlled, too monitored to allow someone to just vanish.  Isn’t it?  Williamson hits these notes heavily, and when a lost boy returns a man and a hero, will it shatter what’s left or finally redeem those that fell from his loss?  There are an amazing amount of relationships here, and the drama is character driven and well penned.  The final moment in the collection brings a revelation that’s impossible not to compare to Saga, but with its own spirit.

Andrei Bressan brings a bright, graphic vibrancy to both sides of the rabbit hole, treating us to sprawling vistas, rampaging beasts, and Croc Dundee in New York in equal measure and skill.  There’s magic in the world once more, and it rises from the strength of the combatants in a subtle and organic way.  It reminds me of the artwork on Magic cards, drawing me into the world of possibilities, seeing a rawness to the powers being flung about.  And, muscles - they have a fair amount of power wrangling and such, as well.   Bressan also has a very subtle, but noticeable, difference in style from the times of Mikey being a child and when he’s an adult.  It’s not noticeable at first (In fact, I’m just realizing as I have it in the other window for reference while I type.), but it’s definitely there.  A hardening of the style, more so than just changing the cherubic figures, it’s really cool.

This is a story that drags you in and has a crazy amount of potential paths, with many characters each having strong motivations and secrets.  There are a lot of pots bubbling, and what will spill over first is anyone’s guess.  There’s a good, strong start to what could be a fantastic story with great reach, and there’s something for everyone who’s ever seen the world they weren’t in, wielding their sword and saving the world.

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Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2018 22:02

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