Well, if there were concerns that Andrei Bressan’s exceptionally high artistic standards had slipped a little last time around in Live by the Sword, he puts them to rest with a truly awe-inspiring double spread of Earth overrun by Lore and his demons. When faced with a hail of bullets Lore’s response is “Tiny metal? Adorable”, as he swats them away and lets his lackeys set about the police that fired them. He’s not a nice guy. But we already knew that. So why has the way been paved for him to occupy Earth? Perhaps the words “You must start the war to end the war. Then there will be peace.” remembered from childhood have fallen into place.

Over the course of Live by the Sword Joshua Williamson moved his cast where they needed to be for these events, and until the final chapter there was a sense of marking time to a degree. That wasn’t entirely the case, but overall the level of excitement diminished. No worries about that here. Almost since Birthright began Williamson has indicated Mikey Rhodes fulfils prophecies about Lore’s downfall on Terranos. Doubt has been cast, but he goes a considerable way toward fitting the bill. Has Williamson been toying with us?

In case it needed reiterating, for the most part it’s been a single family that have been the focus of Birthright, and that single family are now Earth’s best shot at banishing Lore. There’s something neat about that, and about so much else. The point reached by the penultimate chapter needs a massive statement, and it’s provided with the entire chapter being told in phenomenal single page illustrations, the only exception being the sample art, where Bressan expands to a spread.

This is a great way of ending an intriguing fantasy, but the good news is that all evidence to the contrary, this isn’t the end. There will be more, and it seems to be a viable continuation, not just a cheap epilogue. We’ll see in Volume Ten.