The Divine: Possibly The Most Stunning Graphic Novel Ever

The Divine: Possibly The Most Stunning Graphic Novel Ever

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Divine by Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, Boaz Lavie
Publisher: First Second. July 2015.
Pages: 160
Genre: Graphic Novel
Source: Library



Mark's out of the military, these days, with his boring, safe civilian job doing explosives consulting. But you never really get away from war. So it feels inevitable when his old army buddy Jason comes calling, with a lucrative military contract for a mining job in an obscure South-East Asian country called Quanlom. They'll have to operate under the radar--Quanlom is being torn apart by civil war, and the US military isn't strictly supposed to be there.

With no career prospects and a baby on the way, Mark finds himself making the worst mistake of his life and signing on with Jason. What awaits him in Quanlom is going to change everything.
What awaits him in Quanlom is weirdness of the highest order: a civil war led by ten-year-old twins wielding something that looks a lot like magic, leading an army of warriors who look a lot like gods.
What awaits him in Quanlom is an actual goddamn dragon.- Goodreads

The creation of The Divine has a really fascinating backstory. The creators saw a photo in the news of two young twins who had just held 800 people hostage in a Thai hospital. The Hanuka Brothers and Lavie created a story for them.


If you were a fan of Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke", this is the graphic novel for you. It's a graphic novel interested in similar things. The effect of war on people and their land, colonialism, violence, and crazy weird gods of old still being around and getting pissed at humans. It's an incredible blend of modern issues and ancient cultural traditions. It's so everything I want in a book.

©Tomer Hanuka

The twin boys are super magical and hardcore. The main character, Mark, and his relationship with army buddy Jason, who ropes him into coming to work on a project in Quanlom is intense. The only complaint as far as story goes that I and a lot of other seem to have is that it's a little too straight forward; perhaps a little shallow. It doesn't go quite deep enough. But then there's the ending. I won't spoil it, but people have some theories and I would urge you to spend a little time thinking about what else the last panel could mean. PREPARE FOR GOOSEBUMPS.

Finally, it would be a crime not to mention this: the art. I have never in my life been more blown away by the use of color and composition in a graphic novel. The entire book is absolutely beautiful. Intense monochromatic overlays reshape the entire atmosphere of a scene. Mystical aspects of Quanlom are intensely vibrant. The violence and gore is so violent and gory it becomes bizarre and entrancing. The world takes on a shining quality. I have no words. Do yourself a favor: find this book somewhere just to flip through it and be in awe.


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