The Attack opens with Amin Jaafari, an Israeli surgeon of Palestinian origin, trying to save the casualties of a suicide bombing. A day after the deadly attack, an Israeli police officer informs Jaafari that the suicide bomber was his wife, Sihem. Believing her to be on an overnight trip, he completely refuses to accept the accusation. They were leading an ideal life in Tel Aviv, moving among both Arab and Israeli society with ease, or so Jaafari thought. But then he receives a posthumous message from Sihem confirming the worst. Desperate to understand how he missed even the slightest clue, Jaafari leaves the relative security of Israel and enters the Palestinian territories to find the fanatics who recruited her. In search of the truth, he confronts a reality that he had refused to see.
When reading The Attack what you absorb and take away may differ depending on your views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The story itself doesn’t really take a side other than one of tragedy. Based on the book by Yasmina Khadra and adapted by Loïc Dauvillier the graphic novel isn’t as much about the act as it’s about a husband coming to grips with his wife becoming a suicide bomber. Like Mike’s Place, another graphic novel which dealt with a suicide bombing, the point of the story isn’t so much the cowardly act, but those that still live and are impacted by it.
The focus on the husband makes this a story about grief and the betrayal he feels as he realizes he doesn’t know his wife at all. As he explores her final days and how she was radicalized he goes down a spiral which feels not so much about terrorism as it does dealing with a cult and in a way mob-like group. It doesn’t take much of a stance, but at the same time clearly states the perspective of the suicide bomber/terrorist and what drives them. Right or wrong, that doesn’t matter for the story, it’s about the despair of Jaafari’s search for answers.
The art by Glen Chaprion is at times both beautiful and haunting. The detail is excellent as each area is presented in a way that the visuals tell a story in themselves. You can instantly tell what the socio-economic situation is without words being spoken. The art drives the narrative as much as the words and the detail of the destruction will keep you lingering on each page.
As we go deeper into the mystery more and more questions are raised and many are never answered. That’s part of the tragedy and madness we’re taken into. This is a raw story of grief and humanity and presents no true answers. In doing so, it leaves the reader to reflect and think and when you get to those final pages it’ll leave you haunted and trying to come up with answers of your own.
Original Book: Yasmina Khadra Story: Loïc Dauvillier Art: Glen Chaprion
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Firefly Books provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review