What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Birthright #42! There was no better way to start us off with this story arc than to just jump right into the fray. It was refreshing to start a chapter where we were actually playing catch-up to what is now a new landscape. New enemies, new challenges, though with the added appeal of the major chest piece now played on the board. Right now is where you could genuinely be convinced that we are nearing an end to the madness.
The start of the new story arc last month was a page-turner for the way that a new battle was laid before us. It was one thing to know that Lore now had his opportunity to lead his forces into Earth to unleash his corruption, but it was another thing entirely to see the way that the war evolved from it. What this issue gave us was nothing like the hordes of monsters they fought when the government was first inserting themselves in the conflict. And it was nothing like the small force which Mastema unleashed to keep everyone else from her last gambit. This was a whole world of monsters set free to create images of horror which was not expected of Birthright. Whether it was the things our heroes were doing to these monsters, or what these monsters were doing to their soldiers. The stakes never before felt so real.
It went a long way to also feel more of the weight that comes with finding a way to beat Lore. It’s not enough to simply hold this walking nightmare back. They need to be able to find some way which hasn’t been found before to bring the worst of the worst to his knees. Like in Birthright #42 it mattered getting a bit of insight from everyone into what needed to happen next. This isn’t the same Mikey would have swung first and asked questions later, parents who would have asked all the wrong questions before giving the right answers, or solider who would act with too much confidence for so little understood out the situation at hand. Everyone was now in a position where they were now playing to their strengths. Even with their backs still against the wall. The challenge they faced this time around tested them in a creative way because of that.
This far in the story, I was not expecting to be left so heartbroken by the end of an issue. Not like this. It meant a lot that we could take one more trip to the past with a younger Mikey in Terrenos. We know that in most cases this alludes to something that is about to happen in current time. Though what you could not have prepared for this time is what that would actually lead to. There is no war without a cost, and this creative team found the perfect way to send this message to us. It was a tragic message, yet at the same time endearing because these heroes truly did need a new fire lit in them to get through their greatest hurdle in this war against Lore.
With that said, it was easy to assume that this issue would place a strong spotlight on Rook. There is no other twist you could throw our way right now where there is some other long-lost ally returning to Mikey’s side. When you figured that out for yourself, it was more of a question of how he would return, and how he would shake things up where there has been such a lack of hope. The answer to that wasn’t great, but the symbolism was powerful all the same.
The interior work from the art team this month was a shock. The previous issue was quite a sight with the slaughter and casualties captured on both sides of this war. Yet this time around they took a more personable approach to the carnage. It was something to make you cringe, yet also impressive because they did not back out of an opportunity to really give us some gore. Bodies torn apart, dismembered, and impaled. Obviously I should say they accomplished this without losing any detail to what could have been the outcome from getting carried away. At the same time it was nostalgic to take that trip back into early Terrenos and see a world that still had something worth saving. Natural settings with lush colors, brightness in faces which captured hope.
This chapter was action-packed, though it was also one that could easily make you feel things you weren’t prepared for in this stage of the plot. Birthright #42 has offered us the true meaning of war, and there is no war if there is no loss to be experienced from both sides.