Writter: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas
Publisher: Image Comics
It seems like we’ve been flooded with a slew of great new series recently. “Birthright #1” may not have huge names attached to it, but this stellar debut is not to be missed. Creators Joshua Williamson (Ghosted, Nailbiter) and Andrei Bressau use every panel of their over-sized issue to create a world that is as complex as it is wondrous. The first installment is quickly paced so don’t be surprised when the pages whip by. Compelling writing by Williamson make this mash-up of Prisoners with Lord of the Rings a sure-fire hit. Not to mention the terrific cliff-hanger that all but guarantees you’ll be back again next month to see where the book goes.
Bressan’s art is perfectly suited to the fantasy setting that plays home to about half of the book. That’s not to say that the present day Earth stuff doesn’t look great too but that the fantasy segments look that much better. The great visuals and compelling story really make you want to delve deeper into the fictional world – we’re provided with a hand-drawn child’s map at the end of the book. It sounds like there are some pretty terrific and intentionally clichéd locales to find in the months ahead.
Good debuts always have a hook. That one thing, above all others, that you latch on to as a reader and want to show up to the next issue for. It can be anything. For “Birthright #1”, and for me specifically, the hook was the cliff-hanger delivered toward the end of the issue. For a moment I really thought I knew where this series was going, and was even really happy with it, but then Williamson and Bressan threw me a curveball I didn’t even know I wanted.
The characters in “Birthright #1” are incredibly fleshed out. Creating a bunch of relatable, yet fictional people is not an easy task. A lot of the time we comic readers are treated to something unusual, which is an intense knowledge of background and characterization. Most of the Big Two characters we read week-to-week are people that we know extremely well. Creator-owned series do not have that advantage and have to build not just their world, but their characters, from the ground up. “Birthright #1” manages to give us just enough to care about the small cast of characters and the immense plot too, a significant achievement, all things considered.
It always surprises me that fantasy isn’t more popular in comics. It seems like a genre that manages to translate well to the medium and the fan-base is usually quite receptive. If Birthright can find a dedicated following in these first few months then I think we’re in for a treat. Williamson is a writer that is reaching new heights for himself with every passing month and Bressan’s art is positively gorgeous. This is a series you don’t want to miss out on.
“Birthright #1” earns 8.2/10