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"When the adventure is over... The Hero's Journey begins."
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Michael Rhodes was just a normal kid, when during his birthday, he mysteriously disappears without a trace while playing with his father in the woods. His disappearance deals a tragic blow that tears his family apart, specially when his father is suspected of having murdered him. One year later, they are still coping with Mikey's loss until he reappears just as mysteriously as he had vanished in the first place, but radically changed as he is now an hulking, fully grown, battle-worn warrior. As its turns out, he was transported to the fantasy world of Terrenos, where he was revealed to be The Chosen One destined to free it from the tyrannical grasp of God-King Lore. He supposedly defeated the tyrant and restored peace to Terrenos, but his servants had escaped to Earth and now plan to merge the two worlds. He returned home to warn his people of this evil but, when nobody believes him, he's forced to take matters into his own hands and becomes a fugitive of the law, with his father Aaron and brother Brennan following him. Things, however, don't really turn out to be what they seem, and there is more to Mikey than he lets out to be: in reality, he had betrayed his allies and sided with Lore to come back home and the war criminals are in fact heroes from Terrenos trying to protect Earth from their world's tyrant.

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Birthright is a comic series by Image Comics written by Joshua Williamson with art provided by Andrei Bressan and colors by Adriano Lucas, not only focusing on Mikey's attempts at re-connecting with his family but also serving as a desconstruction for the typical story we Kid Hero Trapped in Another World and destined to defeat the Big Bad and the subject of prophecies in general.

If you are looking for the similarly titled Superman comic, see Superman: Birthright. Also not related to the tabletop game of the same name, nor with the sequel of Albedo: Erma Felna EDF, named Birthright.


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This comics provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: With the exception of Mikey and Samael, the Rhodes family as a whole becomes this over the course of the story. Brennan, Aaron and Wendy lack any martial training, experience or superpowers granted due to being Lore's host, but they are able to use some quick thinking and chance to overcome the odds. Eventually Brennan is revealed to be a mage, making only his parents the actual examples of this trope.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Imagine one day you are playing with your children in one moment and in the next one, they just vanish without a trace. Even worse, some rumors start circling around that you may have killed them, tearing up your family apart. Its basically what happened with Aaron Rhodes and his family when his son Mikey went missing.
    • Issue 25 ends with this trope twofold: Brennan is kidnapped by Kallista before his parents' eyes and Mikey is denied being approaching his newborn daughter because of the danger he represents to his family, and there is nothing either can do about it.
  • Barbarian Hero: Post-Terrenos Mikey visually resembles this trope being massively built, bearded, wielding impressive weapons and the like, one police officer goes as far as to call him "Conan". In practice... He is more complicated.
  • Barrier Maiden: The "war criminals" that Mikey is chasing on Earth are actually keeping the barriers between this world and Terrenos. Lore wants Mikey to kill them so he can successfully merge both worlds. With each of their deaths, the barrier spell becomes weaker by the second and Lore's presence becomes more imminent. By the time three of them are dead, the barrier spell is weak enough to allow his minions to invade Earth and prepare a full-blown invasion.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Mickey's mentor Rook believes it wholeheartedly. The rest of Terrenos disagrees, thinking that prophecies have no business in warfare and later proven, being completely unreliable.
  • Big Bad: God-King Lore. Unusually for this trope, he serves as the main protagonist's boss.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Mikey will not have anyone threaten his brother Brennan if he can help it. Amusingly, he is technically the younger brother when he vanished, but due to how time flows faster in Terrenos, he is an adult on Earth and much older than Brennan.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Sameal rescues Mikey, Brennan and Aaron from a SWAT team in Issue 15. He is revealed to be Grandpa Rhodes.
  • Black and Grey Morality: In one hand, you have a monstrous Evil Overlord who turned his world into a hellish landscape to oppress and corrupt it as he sees fit and he also wants to do the same thing to Earth, with the main protagonist serving his will. Against him, there are the mages on Earth trying to preserve the barriers and they won't hesitate to unleash cleansing spirits, get innocents killed or manipulate Mickey's loved ones to serve their ends. Its not helped their motivations aren't entirely heroic or selfless: one of them states she'd rather abandon Terrenos to its fate and make fortune and wealth on Earth, and only wants to stop the Big Bad to preserve her comfy position than anything else.
  • Body Horror:
    • A glimpse of Lore's true face is enough to turn your insides, with his flayed lower jaw and his muscles seemingly being made out of maggots. Its mitigated by the fact that is merely a form he assumes in battle and his real appearance is more human.
    • Those possessed by the Nevermind are prone to have their body horrifically twisted whenever they emerge.
  • Broken Masquerade: After Mastema's hideout is razed, the existence of supernatural creatures is revealed to the world and it appears on the news.
  • Came Back Strong: After being fatally shot and cured by the Diviner, Brennan develops magic powers and becomes a powerful mage.
  • Captured on Purpose: Mikey's reveal at the end of #20 is that he's completely OK with being taken alive and tortured since it will get him into the most heavily fortified complex of the surviving mages. It works out, as he manages to kill another mage (Kylen, this time) and weaken the barrier enough to help Kallista tranverse into Earth.
  • The Chosen One: Mikey Rhodes was thought to have been a chosen hero that would destroy Lore and liberate Terrenos. It turns out to be a subversion not only because he failed his role and ended up siding with his enemy, but because he was never the chosen one in the first place - rather Lore himself was.
  • Covers Always Lie: Issue #25 shows Mastema fighting against Mike and Rya in the cover. She never comes close to trading blows with the two, instead she spends the whole issue fighting Lore's right-hand woman Kallista.
  • Co-Dragons: Lore has Mikey (his direct agent on Earth hunting after the Five Mages to ensure his invasion on his homeworld) and Kallista (who enforces his will in Terrenos and fights against the resistance). With Mikey now freed from his influence, Kallista can be considered the sole Dragon.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Sameal's spirit smoke makes quick work of a police SWAT team but he deems it useless against people from Terrenos. Years of bloody, grotesque warfare have rendered everyone from that world immune to mundane fears.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Aaron. Even Wands thought he was guilty.
  • Deal with the Devil: Lore can corrupt individuals into becoming their agents and extensions of his will by giving them power and turning them into Nevermind.
  • Death World: Terrenos is a very deadly place. A war-torn land populated by predators worse than anything found on Earth, and they are nothing compared to Lore's demonic minions.
  • Deconstruction:
    • For the Trapped in Another World kind of story where a young kid gets taken from Earth to a fantasy realm where he is The Chosen One destined to take down the Big Bad. In this kind of story, the horrors of war turn the Kid Hero into a Shell-Shocked Veteran and his resent over being separated from his family and forced to fight in a war he never asked for ended up driving him to side with the Big Bad.
    • Its also one for Invincible Villain. When confronted with an big bad dark lord who has seemingly endless armies at his disposal and black magic, the natural reaction of most people would be to give up fighting against him altogether.
  • Desecrating the Dead: Kallista is a big fan of this. She used the corpse of Kylen's wife on Terrenos to perform a spell allowing her to transport herself to Earth and using Kylen's corpse to reach the other side. She promptly possess his body to tear it apart and raise the remains as her undead minions.
  • The Dreaded: Rook warns Mikey that in time he will be trained to fight and kill nearly everything, but should he ever encounter an Diviner, he must run.
  • Enemy Within: Mikey has a Nevermind inhabiting his body. Its a evil spirit that serves as an extension of Lore's will and when forcibly extracted from him, its revealed to be have a very twisted physical similarity to the host.
  • Evil Mentor: Kallista desires to become one to Brennan, twisting him into her student.
  • Face Death with Dignity: In spite of his previous actions and behavior, Kylen has more grace in death than he did in life, not pleading when Mikey is about to kill him and telling him he understands why he would want to do it.
  • Fallen Hero: Mikey was supposed to defeat Lore and release Terrenos from his tyranny, but instead made a deal with him to go back to Earth. It turns out that Lore also is one himself.
  • Fan Disservice: We see Kallista in a Walking Swimsuit Scene in Issue #31 and she has an impressive amazon physique which is ruined by her sharp teeth and facial scars. Not to mention, she is talking seductively to Brennan who is a teenage boy...
  • Fantasy World Map: A map of Terrenos was drawn by Mikey in-universe while he was a kid.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: The very first issue ends with the revelation that Mikey is actually serving God-King Lore himself and is working to bring about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Five-Man Band: The Five Mages compose a Hero Antagonist variant of this trope.
  • Forced Sleep: In Issue 26, Mikey is placed under magical sleep by Sameal and is taken to Scotland just so they could find a way to remove the Nevermind from his body without killing him.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In Terrenos, those desperate enough will summon a cleansing spirit known as the Diviner, which twists every single thing around it into abominations that will seek out and hunt Lore's agents. The result almost always razes all surrounding life and its deemed too horrific to use by Rook and his allies because the cost is too high and the effects are dangerous and unpredictable. Despite this, the actual diviner they encounter attempts to negotiate Mikey's surrender and heals Brennan as a goodwill gesture.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Kallista has stereotypically good nature-based powers. One of her favorite tactics is to make plants grow inside people and rip them apart.
  • Grand Theft Me: It's implied that Lore plans to do this to Brennan.
  • Here There Were Dragons: According to Sameal, magic used to exist on Earth despite what he told his fellow mages from Terrenos, but it went away due to unknown reasons.
  • Heroic Lineage: Its revealed that Mikey and Brennan's grandfather is one of the five mages that have set up a barrier between Earth and Terrenos, and Mikey's child with Rya is capable of trans-versing both worlds.
  • Hero of Another Story: Sameal's implied backstory is amazing: he was born away from Terrenos, developed mage powers strong enough to jump worlds, found his way there, became one of the top-ten mages in that world, joined the fight against God King Lore for years, then sealed Lore in Terrenos. If only he was a better hero.
  • Hopeless War: A common theme in this comic that drives the protagonist actions is how utterly hopeless the war against Lore has driven them to despair. The Five pulled out from Terrenos and moved to Earth in the first place because no matter how many of Lore's monsters they destroyed, they were nowhere near getting him hurt (let alone managing to destroy him) with each battle, more and more innocents were killed in the crossfire. And Mikey's devastating defeat at Lore's hands was one of the reasons why he decided to strike up a deal with him to return home.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Being heavily pregnant by the time she travels to Earth, Rya also risks being stuck in this world forever (since its her child that has the power to cross dimensions) and may not return home. She actually goes into labor when Kallista arrives to kill the last remaining mages and she is nearly caught in the crossfire, though she manages to deliver the baby and survive.
  • Invincible Villain: Desconstructed with Lore. Not only is he an extremely powerful mage, but he commands seemingly endless resources and armies that never seem to run out. Many heroes spent years fighting non-stop against him, but they never seem to make any progress - on the contrary, their fighting led to many innocents getting caught in the crossfire and making things worse. In the end, the ones that opposed him have either fled Terrenos or willingly sided with Lore to stop the carnage. And as it turns out, being an invincible villain also takes a toll on Lore himself, who also wants to stop the fighting so he can establish peace in this realm.
  • It Gets Easier: Mikey is absolutely horrified when he is forced to kill for the first time, but he can't afford not to, as cannot possibly last on Terrenos and fate demands that he must bring down the God-King, so he must become a warrior whether he likes it or not. His adult self is most certainly not hesitant in killing.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: The pressure of his duty that he never wanted in the first place, the resentment from being taken away from his home and the horrors of the war ultimately pushes Mikey to perform a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Diviner.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Issue 15 reveals that Sameal, one of the mages that Mikey is hunting, is actually Aaron's father, therefore Mikey and Brennan's grandfather.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • After successfully pacifying a bear that he and his brother disturbed upon entering into his space and baiting into thinking they are friendly, Mikey kills it by stabbing it in the head. Brennan is disgusted that his brother would do such thing after just proving they were no threat to the bear, but Mikey says that he did that just to protect him. Though he has a justification, it serves as a reminder to Brennan that Mikey isn't heroic as he seem.
    • Kylen incinerates several police officers that failed to capture Mikey. Just like above, he tries to justify it to cover up their knowledge up their knowledge of magic, but his spiteful tone and gloating how their deaths will aid him by turning Mikey into a national-level terrorist makes it hard to believe it.
  • Knight Templar:
    • The Five will use any measure to preserve this world and stop Mikey from destroying the protective spell that threatened Terrenos, such as unleashing a Diviner on Earth and targeting Mikey's family (who are innocent and don't know about his true nature as Lore's agent). One of them, Kylen (who is masquerading as a government agent) goes as far as vaporizing a SWAT group to pin the blame on Mikey, and turn him into a national threat.
    • Ironically, their enemy Lore is one as well. Its said by Mastema that he wishes to impose order on the chaos in his world and across all others in existence as result of his personal brand of "justice".
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone gets terrified in Issue #24 when the death of yet another mage weakens the barriers permitting invaders from Terrenos to arrive on Earth, the first one showing up is Kallista.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Mastema's army of golems was added to give Mikey an army to destroy; individually even Aaron can take them down.
  • More Than Mind Control: Lore can't force the Nevermind on anyone, it has to be received willingly. He convinced Mikey to take his by showing him how his family had fallen apart without him. Once it's actually inside a host it can't control their thoughts or actions, it can push them to greater extremes and subtly twist their minds, and it can punish you if you disobey orders, but if the host fights through the pain it has no way of forcing them to do something they don't want to do. When Mikey is freed of his he announces that he still plans to kill the two remaining mages, indicating that he truly has gone over to Lore of his own free will.
  • Mysterious Past: Sameal was the only one of the five mages not born on Terrenos. It's implied he was born on Earth. How he developed his mage powers and got there is not explained.
  • Not So Different: Kallista to Mikey. She lost her family at a young age, fought alongside Rook for decades and eventually joined Lore when she decided that fighting Lore was only making things worse.
  • Obliviously Evil: While they have no sense of collateral damage and tend to cause more damage than its worth, diviners are still spirits of good and the one summoned on Earth heals Brennan after he was fatally wounded, despite being there in the first place to kill his brother.
  • Pregnant Badass: Rya, who is heavily-pregnant with Mikey's child, she still manages to kick ass. It still is played realistically in that trying to fight is very physically straining for her and her child.
  • Red Right Hand: Anyone infected with a nevermind manifests grotesque scarring on their body. As the infection progresses, so does the physical corruption.
  • Romantic False Lead: Shortly after arriving in Terrenos, Mikey gets introduced to a princess the prophecy says he will marry. Nevertheless, it is clear that Rya was his actual lover, and the princess isn't seen in any flashbacks after his first year in Terrenos. He apparently did marry her but refuses to explain further.
    • Given that the prophecy isn't actually about Mikey, the prophecy likely doesn't refer to her at all, but a different princess who may be Mastema's mother.
  • Screw Destiny:
  • Supernaturally Young Parent: As a result of the time he spent on Terrenos, Mikey is a full-grown adult just like his parents Wendy and Aaron. Wendy becomes shocked to discover Rya is carrying Mikey's child, making her a Supernaturally Young Grandma
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Five seldom get along with each other and simply work together because of their united hatred for Lore. Enoch reveals that the only one he regarded as a friend was Sameal.
  • Time-Compression Montage: A series of shots during one of Rya's flashbacks shows Mikey growing from a scared little kid, to a cocky young warrior, to a straight-backed hero, to a weary veteran.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Rook. There were others but Lore killed them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Mikey was just a small child when he was taken to Terrenos, when he comes back home, he is a massive, muscle-bound warrior armed to the teeth who takes down police officers and FBI agents like they are absolute pushovers. Some Training from Hell and and becoming a host to a malevolent entity will do that to you.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Because he is the host to the Nevermind (a parasitic spirit), Mikey has no choice but do Lore's bidding even though he doesn't want the Earth to be destroyed and all he wanted was to be reunited with his family. The Nevermind will torture him and cause him great pain if he doesn't oblige and trying to remove it will eventually kill Mikey. He is eventually freed, but at great cost.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Magic can be strengthened through pain, more specific psychological pain. As a child, Mikey underwent magic training by trying to remember pain and Brennan is able to learn his full potential by being prodded by Kallista with resentment over Mikey.
  • The Unchosen One: Since the prophecy regarding Lore is revealed to be bogus and Mikey was never the chosen one as believed by the resistance, his loved ones are now encouraging him to continue fighting against Lore because nobody else will.
  • The Unmasqued World: In Issue 26, the Five and their secrets have already spilled out into the public with one person seeing the news about a dragon from Sameal's hideout free. Rya notes that Earth is starting to catch up in magic to Terrenos.
  • Villain Protagonist: Mikey since he is working with God-King Lore to merge Earth with Terrenos, though most characters aren't aware of it initially.
  • Wham Line:
    • Issue #6 drops this bombshell.
    God-King Lore: DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU'RE THE FIRST CHOSEN ONE OF TERRENOS?!
    • Issue #15 drops a new one
    Sameal (reveals his true form to Mikey and Brennan): Because it's my fault you are in this mess to begin with.
    Aaron: Dad?
    • Issue #20 has another:
    Rya: (About God-King Lore) How... How do you know all of this?
    Mastema: Because... Lore is my father
    • Issue #29 ends with a Priest of the Mind's Eye revealing how to get rid of the Nevermind:
    Priest': The infection in your grandson's mind is deep. The only way to free his mind from the evil that has allowed to take hold is with a sacrifice.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue #20 was designed by the creators to be the biggest whammer as noted in the credits since they were taking a temporary break and aimed to drop as many bombshells as they could: Sameal is forced to kill Enoch to protect Aaron, now two out of the five mages protecting Earth from Lore are dead and the barriers between worlds is further awakening; Mikey is seemingly captured by Kylen though its revealed he allowed himself to be taken prisoner so he could have the chance to kill two more mages in one stroke; Mastema reveals that the prophecy is false and Mikey is not The Chosen One, but rather Lore himself who has already saved Terrenos, but turned into an ruthless tyrant, and she knows all of this because she is his daughter.
    • Issue #24 ends with the Rhodes family being reunited for the first time since the beginning of the comic including Grandpa and Rya, Mikey murdering Kylen leaving now only three out of the five dead, and the barriers have weakened enough for beings from Terrenos to cross over into Earth - the first one to confront the heroes being Kallista the Pale Rider, and to make matters even worse, Rya is entering on labor right there in the middle of a imminent invasion. The next chapter continues the trend with Rya giving birth to her child in the middle of the battlefied, Mastema going missing in action and Kallista kidnapping Brennan to an unknown location. To make matters worse, Mikey's family has pretty much disowned him for his actions and forbid him from getting near his newborn daughter.
    • Issue #30 has Mikey finally freed from Lore's influence when the Nevermind is extracted by the Priests of the Mind's Eye... However, he reveals that his mission to kill Mastema and Samael hasn't changed.
  • Wham Shot:
    • The first issue ended with Mikey being possessed with a Nevermind spirit, revealing that he is not an actual hero who defeated Lore, but he is actually working for him.
    • Issue #20 shows us what is God-King Lore's true form. A tall, strong, heroic-looking man with a sword who looks just like Mikey.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Gideon are a race of human-like beings from Terrenos that oppose Lore's rule. Mikey's protector (and love interest) Rya is one of them.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Mikey is surrounded by a large SWAT force and puts up an impressive fight against them, but because he was already weakened by his fight with Samael, he ends up being overwhelmed.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Many years take place in Terrenos, enough for Mikey to age from a teenager to adulthood, while only a year passes on Earth.
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