cover image The Divine

The Divine

Boaz Lavie, Asaf Hanuka, and Tomer Hanuka. Roaring Brook/First Second, $24.95 ISBN 978-1-59643-674-9

Heady, hellacious, and phantasmagoric, Israeli filmmaker Lavie’s (The Lake) debut graphic novel—illustrated by veteran artists the Hanuka twins (Bi-Polar, The Realist)—feels like something Alex Garland would have come up with after bingeing on Apocalypse Now outtakes. Mark is an explosives expert whose economic anxieties are ratcheted up by his wife’s pregnancy. When near-psychotic old pal Jason promises a weird gig for great pay—all they have to do is go down to the Southeast Asian nation of Quanlom and rig an entire mountain for controlled demolition—Mark jumps. Once in Quanlom the mood pivots from merely ominous to outright wartime nightmare, as Mark is taken prisoner by some particularly vicious preadolescent rebels. The story gets more and more violent and fantasy-like from there. The Hanukas’ layered illustrations coat everything with a hyperreal glaze, accentuating the story’s dreamlike aspects. The only off-key note comes at the very end, when a source of tragic real-life inspiration casts this otherwise gripping book in somewhat of a sour light. (July)