In a world increasingly dictated by immoral, selfish activities, we often seek out superheroes who could shield us from the forces of evil that prey on innocent souls. Much to our dismay, these superhumans or superheroes, only exist in fiction. Nonetheless, their impact on our lives is no less significant.
Like who is not a fan of Marvel or DC comics, movies or TV shows? Since childhood, we all have envisioned ourselves as Superman, Batman or Spiderman doing heroic deeds to save the world. Weirdly, nearly all the superheroes back then were as white as snow. Being a Bangladeshi native, I have always wondered what a Bangladeshi superhero would look like and what his superpowers would be.
What if I were to tell you that now we have a Bangali superhero who is as strong as the Hulk, can fly like Superman, can regenerate health like the Wolverine and shoot lasers like the Cyclops? We are talking about Dhaka comics' popular comic book hero 'Ibrahim' which has been garnering appreciation and attention from young comics fans.
The first issue of the Ibrahim series came out in 2017, authored by the underrated Tanjim-Ul Islam and illustrated by Adrian Anik. Over time, the comics garnered a niche audience within the comic book community in the country with four more parts of the series being released already.
They have recently published the fifth issue of this thrilling comic book series called 'Ibrahim 5: Juddhongdehi'. The word 'Juddhongdehi' is used to describe the fierce war-driven hero, Ibrahim, of this story who rages against those who threaten peace and harmony in every sphere of his life.
The writer has tactfully written the script to emphasise the inner conflicts and goals of the homegrown superhero Ibrahim. The dramatic illustrations were icing on the cake, which expertly depicted each of the characters' emotions. This merely reflects the tremendous talent and potential of our people in the comic book arena.
In the previous issue, we have seen the vigilante hero (a.k.a the mysterious man) Ibrahim being compromised by the overwhelming thoughts of becoming a failure, as he found out that stopping a terrorist attack was not enough to save innocent lives. Just when he is about to face death, two anonymous characters save him at the last moment. This was how the previous issue ended leaving readers in suspense about who the two anonymous characters may be and the fate of Ibrahim.
But in this issue, the suspense is finally broken at the beginning of the story. Those anonymous life-savers were, spoiler alert, his parents, who have been tracking their son's movements for a long time to protect him, but Ibrahim was unaware of it.
The story moves forward with flashbacks narrated by his parents that incorporated intriguing political conspiracies and subtle sci-fi undertones. We sense the crime drama mingled with superhuman adventures throughout the story as the writer has effortlessly portrayed many fascinating characters like the mystery-solving officer Shila, the detained terrorist Shiraj, etc.
The conversations of the characters felt familiar because of the use of local language and obviously because the story is set up in the context of Bangladesh. However, the story progression would have been more intense had the script been a bit longer. In some portions, it did feel like the story moved a bit too quickly which is understandable given the fast-paced nature of comic books.
We must, of course, talk about the intense and explosive fighting scenes in the comic book that are common in every superhero story. The creators also earn brownie points for the sleek new suit design of Ibrahim which helps him control his destructive powers.
The action-packed story of Ibrahim's 5th issue is easy to grasp, touches all the classic comic tropes, perfectly describes how Ibrahim's powers were forged out of his tragedies and contains illustrations that brought the comic characters to life. In some parts of the book, I felt palpable tension and excitement with each page I turned. In the end, I found myself hooked on another cliffhanger.
Even though 'Ibrahim' may not have overwhelming literary value, the journey to attaining that goal had to start somewhere and Ibrahim deserves credit for that. In the South Asian region, the comic book industry has not flourished yet but comics like Ibrahim makes us believe that we are heading in the right direction. Hopefully one day, we will be as excited about our own superheroes as we are about the heroes from Marvel-DC comics.
You can order this comic book directly from the official website of Dhaka Comics.