Crazy how close we are to the end, and yet here we also are at the end of yet another story arc. Pretty bold move from this creative team, but surely enough many of us out there aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to this series just yet! Especially with so much now in jeopardy given Mastema’s plans to create a new world from the ashes of both Earth and Terrenos. What a twist indeed when the last thing you would have expected at this stage was a Mage being such a problem in contrast to Lore.
There was only one question driving me crazy leading up to the release of this issue. You would read the synopsis, and it initially makes you think that we were about to be given a filler issue. That would have been both bold and risky if that turned out to be the case. A detour is always welcomed in a story like this, except when you are approaching the end of it all. That is when you want to see things playing through all the way to the end without interruption. Fortunate for us, Birthright #40 picks up from where the previous issue ended. A troubling scene for our heroes when Mastema has decided she needs to speak to a younger and more naive version of Mikey who is more willing to hear her proposition. Now at the same time this part worried me too. If not only because it makes you wonder why Mastema needs the approval of anyone other than herself to make this vision of hers a reality.
Regardless of that questioning, I found it endearing to see things from Mastema’s perspective. Right now, there aren’t any villains. Just people from both worlds who are looking for an escape from all the chaos and pain. To see the vision of this new world through the eyes of Mastema and a younger Mikey turned out to be just what we needed at a time like this to better grasp the emotional weight of what had to come next. The decision to save both worlds, or lose it for the sake of building something better.
Now seeing that this is also the end of the story arc, that means we had to brace ourselves for something huge that would rock us to our very core. Knowing how many issues are left, it would be too simple if this was the moment where everything was fixed. So when they hit us with that twist? No punches were pulled to open the flood gates, and really couldn’t have come at a worst time for our heroes when they are still somewhat licking their wounds. We walk away from this issue with more questions than answer, but we sure as hell walk away with the greatest of anticipation for what comes next too!
What continues to be a point of interest for me is how Brennan plans on recruiting the help of Kallista. You could also call him young and naive, but that would do him a disservice as the one character right now who is willing to do things the hard way. When everyone else wants something, they argue, they fight, and they lie. It takes someone with a stronger fortitude to be able to take a step back and approach someone properly. It may take more effort, but that is how you build genuine bonds.
What I found terrifyingly appealing was this art team going the extra mile to finally show us the true face of Mastema. She tends to go through all sorts of changes when she powers up, and each time its hard to deny the difference in power in contrast to everyone else. This time around? This was the closest that she ever looked to capturing the darkness within her. As the daughter of Lore, it made sense to see that drastic change in skin tone, additional limbs, and fiery aura. Her very presence was chilling and the colors made a very dig difference in that. Especially when things got explosive, and brutal at a couple of points. Overall, Adriano Lucas was once more able to let loose, though this time in a different capacity. Stronger warm colors from his unique pallet, and way more radial. Aside from this, I loved seeing how literal they could get when you say the flood gates have been opened.
I’ve said it multiple times that the big selling point for this series is how they crash fantasy into reality, and never before has that been more true than what happens in this chapter. Birthright #40 hits you in a big way because after everything we learned about Mastema and her upbringing? There was only one way that this confrontation with the daughter of Lore could have ended. What that sets up will have us all eager to see what comes next!