New Graphic Novel The Divine from Asaf & Tomer Hanuka
Note: Never fuck with spooky child-soldiers in Southeast Asia
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
11:00AM, Wed. Jul. 15, 2015
If we weren’t going to give the Hanuka Brothers’ The Divine the description it deserves, we’d go all media shorthand and say it’s a mash-up of parts of Apocalypse Now and Princess Mononoke and that Rian Johnson sci-fi thing called Looper.
But then, we probably wouldn’t even be talking about the visual artistry of the Brothers so much as the script written by Boaz Lavie – although all three of them are responsible for what vividly fills the pages between the covers of this new graphic novel from First Second Books.
Still, even our possible micro-précis would offer a sense of what you can expect. Which, if any of those namechecked movies (or a startling combo thereof) is your sort of thing, you’d be doing yourself a favor to experience this gorgeous and freaky tale set in the war-torn jungles of Southeast Asia – inspired by Apichart Weerawong’s famous 2000 photo of child-soldiers, the story here enhanced with supernatural powers and mythological creatures come to life among the mercenary Kalishnikov-and-machete violence.
And we mentioned that we haven’t mentioned “the visual artistry of the Brothers,” because we’ve already raved too frequently about the wonders Asaf and Tomer Hanuka produce, and because we’re always reduced to babbling, like some steadily deranging character in a Lovecraft tale, about how the brilliant variety of the Hanukas’ color palette nearly overwhelms the impeccable linework and the excellent pacing and paneling choices.
Which, happily, is again the case with this volume.
So, yes: The Divine is one hell of a passionate, modern-day, gore-splattered, mythopoeic thrill ride that’s handsomely packaged for your enjoyment. Also, tell you what, if you’d like to know more about the book and the story behind its inception … then this A.V. Club interview with The Divine's three creators is the best thing going.