I'm beginning to find that just about anything from Ait/PlanetLar is going to be a good read and Abel is no exception. This story is one of lies and how they guide our lives (and as much is said in the afterward by Rachel Pollack). It's also a story of two boys, their family, and the town they live in. It's also a story of misdirection. It's also really, really good.
The story starts off with a very attention grabbing scene--the two brothers are in a ditch, the older holding a rifle, and a dog is in the opposite ditch. The older brother, who has the rifle shoots the dog while the younger brother watches wide-eyed. The dog, not being quite dead yet, lies helplessly in the ditch as the older brother, Phillip, beats the remaining life out of it before shooting it in the head. The younger brother, John, looks on in horror only to be knocked back to reality by his brother's fist hitting his face.
With my attention fully focused on this story I was glued to to each sequential page as the rest of the story developed. The violent and hate-filled relationships of the brothers is complicated by the fact that the older brother covers up his beating of his brother by claiming his little brother was a hero and beat up a bully.
John doesn't have it all bad as he develops a friendship with an Asian worker, but when his brother finds out about it, he uses this friend of John's as a scapegoat for his own evil deeds. John is caught in the middle, surrounded by lies spun by everyone around him.
I can't recall the last time I read something so ugly, yet so captivating. William Harms has truly created a spectacular tale of a rough childhood of a boy during the time of World War II. This graphic novel comes with the highest recommendation!