Previously in Birthright #9
At the end of Birthright #9 Williamson had us all asking: Can Mikey defeat the Nevermind? And what about the Diviner? He is the Chosen One, after all. And lastly, can Wendy be a mother and a grandmother at the same time? Birthright #10 attempts to answer all of these questions as well as questions we did not even know we had until the end of the issue. As with most issues in this series, the pacing of the book was spot-on. I always feel like I am racing through every panel until I find there are no more to race through. That speaks volumes towards the writing and how each sentence sucks you further into the story without you even realizing it, and the next thing you know you are hovering over the final panel breathing a little bit harder. This action-packed book rockets forward the storyline and takes the readers on a magical, intense, adrenaline-filled thrill ride packed full of shocking WTF moments.
The issue begins with Wendy and Rya having a surprisingly calm conversation on the couch. Rya attempts to explain why she is there on Earth and what happened in the final moments before she lost track of Mickey. Rya relays that during the final battle they were separated, with Mickey going to confront Lore in person and Rya going to attack Lore’s Dark Army. That was the last time she saw Mickey on Terrenos. We also find out Rya knows Mickey lied about defeating Lore and that Rook is no longer with them since he was defeated by Lore some time before the final battle.
When Wendy finally gets around to seeing Rya’s little baby bump, she is taken aback. I am sure she was thinking that the return of her adolescent son, who now seems to be Conan the Barbarian, was enough surprises for one lifetime. Now she has to deal with the idea that she will soon be a grandma too! I love that all she can think about is how she is not ready to be a grandmother. Forget the fact that her grandchild mama is a winged, super warrior from another world! The news did motivate Wendy to never want to be surprised by Mickey’s life again. Should we wait to tell her that her man-grown son has been possessed by a blood-soaked demon-face thing and that he is the villain in this story?
Meanwhile, Mickey is still down and still fighting the Nevermind with Brennan attempting to defend his brother from the Diviner. Oh, and Becca is there too. Brennan decides to take an approach he learned from Mickey: “Sometimes the best way to fight is to know when not to fight.”
Mickey does not agree with this strategy and neither does the Nevermind. Brennan pleads with the Diviner to help his brother and the Diviner is happy to oblige. In doing so though, Mickey, Becca, and Brennan’s minds are linked and they experience one of Mickey’s flashbacks. Trippy!
In this memory, Mickey recounts the first time he kills another living thing. Both Rya and Rook approve of the killing of the animal, but young Mickey is beside himself with regret. This first kill was the start of a trail of many other bodies that will lie in Mickey’s wake. Mickey feels that the killing may be part of who he is, which might be foreshadowing what’s happening to another character’s arch in the story.
The Diviner uses a vision of a young Mickey to try to get his point across about how dangerous Mickey has become and the moment Mickey “betrayed” himself by killing that first animal was the day he started down this dark path. Mickey does not like where this is going and attacks the Diviner with the Blades of the Forever Fields, but is disarmed and is made to succumb. As Mickey seems to be ready to be “cleansed,” Brennan takes his place by his brother’s side as a hero and with the Blades of the Forever Fields destroys the Diviner!
And just like that, the magic wonderland is gone and even Mickey seems to be back to normal. Those bulging red veins all over his body were really creepy! Mickey congratulates Brennan on doing something that was thought to be impossible. Mickey says it was because he was worthy to wield the Blades of the Forever Fields. (I wonder if Thor would be jealous not being the only worthy one?) Becca says she has had enough of the adventure life and asks to be walked home by Brennan. You go, boy!
All good things seem to be ahead for the Rhodes brothers, but if that was the case this would not be the titillating story that it is. As Brennan and Becca walk away, the Nevermind shows his ugly bloody face again and tells Mickey he was right about how powerful Brennan seems to be. He also says Brennan is on “his path to corruption” and that he will make a perfect host for Lore! What!?!?!? Brennan is going to be seduced by the dark side? Not good, folks! Mickey did it to us again! Making us believe he was on a redemption arch and then slapping us back to reality reminding us that he is the villain of the story! And so ends this amazing issue.
What a crazy installment to a remarkable story! We get to see the end of a Diviner, which would seem to be a big deal (see last month’s review), and the beginning of another Rhodes boy’s journey towards something heroic or perhaps something else. The action sequences are dizzying, creating an illusion of motion that one would think their hair is blowing in the wind with every flying fist or magic blast. The colors are intense, and artist Bressan is at his best with swirling mystical winds and roaring bear creatures. I can never get enough of this book and with this new twist to consider, I will be holding my breath waiting for the next issue of this amazing piece of storytelling!
Everyone who is a fan of fantasy and would like a different take on the hero’s journey will love this comic series and should not walk but run to your local comic store to pick up this amazing comic. It is well worth the read!