Birthright #24 (Image Comics)
I love this comic.
Like, no lie. I really like fantasy, which is why we’ve got the Wicked Witch of the Web writing faerie stories elsewhere on this site, and why I wrote a high fantasy epic that’s elsewhere on this site. It’s why I love Rat Queens, it’s why I love Skull Kickers, why I love Critical Role and Mythica and fantasy in general.
Fantasy has it’s tropes, though, and a big one is the idea of someone being chosen to save the world by ancient forces. There’s usually a prophecy involved, or some special bloodline, or whatever. It has more to do with old royal lines and the idea of salvation than, say, Tolkien’s works, but it’s such a huge part of fantasy stories that some people have taken to lampooning it, twisting it into an entirely new form.
In the case of Birthright, the chosen one failed.
You can’t really blame him. Mikey was a child when he was stolen from his world and brought into a strange fantasy world and told he had to fight an evil god. His family was left behind, and time in one world passes differently than it does in the other: in the world Mikey was abducted to, twenty years went by. In our world, a single year passed and Mikey’s family imploded because of him vanishing.
It’s taken twenty-four issues for his whole family to accept who is and that he’s back, but the trick of coming back came not from conquering evil, but joining it. Mikey turned against his kidnappers, the ones that called him chosen, all so that he could return home. We’ve also learned that he’s the grandchild of a Mage named Sammael, one of four beings that left fantasy land to stem the expansion of evil from one world to the next.
There’s been family reunions and evidence of betrayals and all sorts of heartache and now we’re getting into more complexity, because Mikey hooked up with a winged woman warrior named Rya and got her pregnant, a thing he didn’t know when he abandoned her to come home. She’s very pregnant and the two of them are just getting back together while, all around them, an invasion of evil encroaches into our world and Mikey’s family struggles just to stay alive.
If this sounds awesome it is because it is. Joshua Williamson has spent two years exploring the consequence and weight of prophecy in the form of a scared and scarred boy forced to become a classic fantasy hero and his utter rejection of that fate so that he can be with his family. Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas capture every twist, turn, and moment of breaking with deft lines and deep colors. This comic is awesome and if you like fantasy at all you should do yourself a favor and read it.