Written by Boaz Lavie
Art by Tomer Hanuka and Asaf Hanuka
I remember first seeing this image of Johnny and Luther Htoo, the twelve year old twin leaders of the Karen God's Army, who fought in Myanmar, back in 2000 or so, and immediately wanting to know more about them. At the time, I thought that their story would make a great movie or something, and never really forgot that picture. When I first saw the cover of The Divine, a graphic novel by Boaz Lavie and the Hanuka brothers, it immediately reminded me of the earlier image.
The Divine is about a magical version of the Htoo twins, who live in the fictional Asian country of Quanlom. They don't show up in the first half of the book though.
The story is told from the point of view of Mark, an explosives technician who is also an expecting father. When a promotion at work doesn't quite work out the way he was hoping, he decides to join a friend in an off-the-books explosives mission in the secretive and war-torn nation of Quanlom. His friend, Jason, plays the role of the Ugly American quite well, and Mark is not all the comfortable with the way his friend treats the locals who they are working with.
When Mark discovers an injured child who might be endangered by the detonation he's planned, he decides to get him treatment and to accompany him home. This puts him in contact with Luke and Thomas, the Divine. They appear to be commanding a small army of child soldiers in the jungle, and we learn that Thomas has great abilities.
The story gets pretty mystical at this point, and becomes more and more gripping as it moves towards its conclusion. The art, by the Hanuka brothers, is beautiful and often luminous. I have enjoyed every piece of their work that I've read, and was quite pleased to see them working together on this book again.
This was a pretty impressive comic, and I was especially excited when I got to the backmatter and learned that the same photo of the Htoo brothers that impressed itself upon me almost twenty years ago had the same effect on the creators of this book.