Creators: Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá
Publisher: Dark Horse
Twin brothers Omar and Yaqub may share the same features, but they could not be more different from one another. After a brutally violent exchange between the young boys, Yaqub is sent from his home in Brazil to live with relatives in Lebanon, only to return five years later as a virtual stranger to the parents who bore him, his tensions with Omar unchanged. Family secrets engage the reader in this profoundly resonant story about identity, love, loss, deception, and the dissolution of blood ties.
While comics mostly now have color, the newest original graphic novel published by Dark Horse from brothers Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon is depicted in striking black and white. Stripping away the color in the comic takes away a sense of familiarity from typical American work that draws readers in in a manner not commonly seen in western comics. Ba and Moon imbue much of their artwork with a sense of simplicity and a shortage of background that showcases the power of empty negative space on the comics page. The new book is entitled “Two Brothers.” The comic is based on the work of Milton Hatoum’s novel, The Brothers, which was originally published in 2002 and follows the adventures of two brothers who lived separated by an ocean for over a decade.
The twins, Yaqub and Domingas, are reunited at the start of the story and are surrounded by a family with complex relationships that unravel throughout the comic. As the narrative continues to unfold deeper, readers are offered flashbacks into the continued lives of Domingas and Yaqub. The two have a tense relationship poignantly evoked by Bá and Moon. The authors deal with the harshness of the original subject matter with a certain sense of innocence and honesty that makes this story seem autobiographical. It’s refreshing to see Bá and Moon, through a minimalist style, create a world as beautiful and grand as the ones in The Umbrella Academy and Casanova with fewer lines and less complicated shapes.
The story grows becomes darker as the graphic novel continues to unfold and tensions rise, but the narrative never strays far from its own intrinsic beauty even as violence and sexual content reveal deception and betrayal hidden within the family. The story is over 200 pages, and the Moon Twins use this space to flesh out the narrative with a complex series of moments and chapters and that illustrate the rich history that surrounds the men and women present within the story.
For some, this may be a work best enjoyed in short bursts by the chapter. The subject matter involving this family is a weighty piece of entertainment that may weigh heavy on the reader. Moon and Bá have both shot for the stars here, attempting to adapt a story with more substance than your average comic. Two Brothers is a striking graphic novel that allows fans to see a different aspect of two of the very best creators in comics– come and see what flavor of genius the Brazilian-based brothers have crafted from the work of Milton Hatoum.
Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá will be at New York Comic Con from October 8th to October 11th promoting Two Brothers. The show will be readers’ first chance to purchase copies of the title. It officially releases on October 14th.