There was many ways I envisioned the last stretch of Birthright, but it was nothing like this. That a mission to recruit Mastema could turn into this was a bold twist. This is where the strength of the plot would truly be tested, because what’s happening here feels like a fate worse than anything these heroes could suffer if they took on Lore.
Considering how the previous issue ended, I was surprised by how this issue opened up to us. I wasn’t prepared for another dive into Mastema’s story, yet at the same time I welcomed it. For as much as we knew about her, there was still much that we didn’t know. This just so happened to include her life on Earth. Everything about this story which unfolded catches you off guard because this felt like a completely different person from who was standing before Mikey and company. This was a story which ultimately made sense of everything that was happening now that we know Mastema’s end game is to rewrite the worlds in her image. Something had to motivate her to go to such extremes, and her reasoning did not disappoint one bit. Overall, Mastema’s dialogue was on point because every word from her was chilling because she had all of the power in this situation. All you can really do is appeal to someone’s better half when they are this far gone, monologuing, and convinced that there is only one solution.
It was at this point where we could also feel the urgency that this situation has taken. You have two worlds falling apart, a monster that will inevitably make his way to destroy Earth, and many innocents inbetween who are caught in the madness. The last thing that anyone would need is a mad plan that involves letting both worlds collapse to make something new overtop.This is why I was surprise with how Mikey, Rya, and Samael handled this confrontation with Mastema. This could have gone like everything conflict with someone who had lost their way, but this was the time to show that these heroes have changed. That means being able to reach out to someone instead of trying to slay them.
The time that they gave to Brennan outside of that madness was intriguing. Even Brennan can see that there are better ways to reach someone than to push. I would love to see what happens as he further explores what this new experience with magic offers him. Clearly he understands something about it now that he didn’t before, and that is great for reminding us of how crucial of a part he still has to play.
There was one scene in particular that may make your jaw drop. You think of all the things that should be impossible, and we witnessed something truly awesome from one character who you would have thought very little of to expect that he could accomplish so much through sheer willpower. It’s fun when you can underestimate someone and see that the average joe still has their place in this war.
Birthright #39 ended up being one of the more fantastical issues that this art team gave us. I was amazed by the intensity and creativity that they put into this suped up version of Mastema who is just not pulling any punches. You would think the Mages were just the ceiling of magic, and then you would be proven wrong by all of the things Mastema is capable of when she lets loose. The blasting, the flying, the general explosiveness. Let’s not forget the life-like illusions. She had a lot going for her, and so did the settings too which impressed me since Andrei Bressan did not skip a beat in detail. Not even when it came to that one scene I mentioned above which was one of the most gruesome displays that we have seen so far. This was also probably one of Adriano Lucas’ best issues for colors, if not the best. He gave us such beautiful array of cosmic colors that created this godly image of Mastema. It was like this was all taking place within a Nebula. Fitting of course considering her plan is to create a whole new world.
This was one of the most insane issues of Birthright because this is as bad as it gets without dealing with King Lore. If he is supposed to be the ultimate villain, this is a terrifying development when his own daughter can give our heroes this much of a run for their money. Will words win the day? Some other unexpected force out there? Or does Mikey still hold some card we haven’t seen yet? Questions like this will keep us coming back for more!