Created by: Umair Najeeb Khan
Co-written by: Iman Sultan
Reviewed by: Saniyyah Eman
It started with the twins; two boys with strange marks on their necks who were abandoned at birth and adopted by two different families. One, Shahnawaz, becomes a member of a small, lower-middle class household in Rawalpindi where he was exposed to life in its harshest form while the other, Shahvez, was adopted by an affluent couple from Islamabad and lived a luxurious life.
The first issue of the comic book introduces us to the two boys, who have now met each other after being separated for the most parts of their childhood and now call themselves Raad (Arabic for ‘lightning’). With Raad’s reunion, the Paak Legion Universe starts coming together. The first issue opens with Raad reunited and working on a vlog about their lives and their respective backgrounds.
The incidents that lead up to their reunion are merely hinted at and so are their powers, with the first issue merely serving as an appetizer where we learn about their different lives and how they affect their world views, with one striving to find a “purpose” in life while the other merely searches for an outlet for his aggression.
The storyline is pretty basic, with the main story being narrated by the brothers as they talk about their lives. The dialogues and narration go well with the art to create a fast-paced story. There is a healthy dose of desi vocabulary. However, if you are expecting an elaborate story, you should understand that TLLB is a pilot issue that is merely laying the groundwork for the Paak Legion Universe and that it might take a few issues for the creators to develop the plot.
The artwork (and for me, it is the artwork that The Long Lost Brothers is all about) is absolutely gorgeous. Beautifully drawn panels with intricate, detailed characters that more than make up for the absence of a convoluted origin story, the scenes that set the mood for the two brothers’ background stories, be it the clothes hanging from balconies in inner Rawalpindi or the pretty little nursery, the artwork is enough to tell its own story.
For me, the only problem I had while reading TLLB was that the dialogues sounded the same for everybody. If it hadn’t been for the direction of the balloon tails and the different colours of Shahvez and Shahnawaz’s speech balloons, it would have been impossible to differentiate between the two boys’ dialogues. I feel that the characters do not have their unique voices yet. Maybe Shahnawaz’s speech should contain some basic Rawalpindi slang that sets him apart from his brother; similarly, I missed the “Islamabadi burger” edge there should have been to everything Shahvez said, seeing he had been raised as the typical “burger” kid - a common subject of Pakistani memes.
Overall, the first issue of the Paak Legion series is everything I expected and more. Let us hope that the second issue will be as excellent as the first and meanwhile, fangirl over Shahnawaz’s messy man-bun because hey, if a desi boi can carry that man-bun off with such style, he can handle anything thrown his way!
Paak Legion Issue #01 The Long-Lost Brothers is available online at: www.umairnajeebkhan.com.