The Long Lost Brothers: Islamabad and Rawalpindi find their own superheroes

Umair Najeeb Khan's first comic is a brave attempt at creating local characters that come with free electric supply

Asfa Sultan February 09, 2020

KARACHI: The first issue of superhero comic book series, Paak Legion, released in January and it’s called, The Long Lost Brothers. Contrary to what people would expect, the two newly introduced super heroes, Shahvez and Shahnawaz, are your everyday siblings who hate each other but are forced to fight on the same team.

Paak Legion is the brainchild of Islamabad based artist Umair Najeeb Khan and is co-written by Iman Sultan.

The comic takes you on a background check, more like an origin story, introducing the fellas and the kind of lives they’ve lived before turning into saviours. However, sadly it’s just a five minute read which goes without showing any villains or costumes (guess Pakistanis aren’t big on keeping secrets).

That does not mean it doesn’t grip the reader or insinuate outrageous ideas. As a matter of fact, it banks on the birthmarks both these brothers have which also seem to be responsible for their super powers.

These marks make one wonder if they’re even humans or robots with artificial intelligence. Now.. the idea may sound a bit farfetched for a local context, but who said they can’t be aliens born out of an interbreeding after a possible intergalactic invasion? Well, whatever their genesis is, the artist has certainly made sure they look and sound interesting.

Their birth marks coupled with the electric charge makes their super powers obvious. However, the problem lies in the way they are drawn to each other, or rather, drawn away from each other. What could have made the storyline more intriguing would’ve been the polarity in their attitudes, rather than just their powers.

The trait of Shahvez being more arrogant due to his hyper-privileged upbringing and accomplishments naturally makes Shahnawaz look humble– but the fact that they’re both heroes makes you crave for a villain. Nevertheless, since origins are usually driven out of internal conflicts and family struggles, the comic should not be judged on the lack of action.

Aside from the story, the comic fails to deliver due to a lack of consistency in the artwork and speech bubbles, making one confused about who is saying what first, and who is who. Continuity, which is central to any narrative, works in a manner that it needs to be spotted in a film, but demands to be seen in a comic book. Something similar happens in The Long Lost Brothers where characters mysteriously lose their jackets in the very next panel, along with a change of outfit. Not to mention, there isn’t enough breathing space owing to inconsistent gutters.

Nevertheless, the price for the comic book is Rs650 along with the shipping charges and it is available online. Although it may seem quite pricy for being a five minute read, it is still an origin story to two of the most powerful superheroes of Pakistan – unless they run short on electricity

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