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From one of America s most critically acclaimed graphic novel writers inspired by true events, a startlingly original look at life on the streets of Baghdad during the Iraq War In his award winning work on Y THE LAST MAN and EX MACHINA one of Entertainment Weekly sTen Best Fiction titles , writer Brian K Vaughan has displayed an understanding of both the cost of survival and the political nuances of the modern world Now, in this provocative graphic novel, Vaughan examines life on the streets of war torn Iraq In the spring of , a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad zoo during an American bombing raid Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation can it be given or is it earned only through self determination and sacrifice And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity Based on a true story, VAUGHAN and artist NIKO HENRICHON Barnum have created a unique and heartbreaking window into the nature of life during wartime, illuminating this struggle as only the graphic novel can This week, the American occupation of Iraq ends as the last U.S troops withdraw and their bases are turned over to the Iraqi civilian government This event brings back to mind Brian K Vaughn and Niko Henrichon s graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad A modern fable set at the beginning of the American led invasion of Iraq, it was inspired by a true story of the fate of the animal abandoned in an Iraqi zoo Some of animals escaped while their caretakers fled to escape incoming American forces.Pride This week, the American occupation of Iraq ends as the last U.S troops withdraw and their bases are turned over to the Iraqi civilian government This event brings back to mind Brian K Vaughn and Niko Henrichon s graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad A modern fable set at the beginning of the American led invasion of Iraq, it was inspired by a true story of the fate of the animal abandoned in an Iraqi zoo Some of animals escaped while their caretakers fled to escape incoming American forces.Pride of Baghdad is a story of a pride of lions that escaped their enclosure when American missiles destroyed their cages and their fellow captive animals free For the moment they had their freedom, but can they ever escape the urban jungle that is modern Baghdad Vaughn gives each of the lions a distinct voice and is aided superbly by the unique visuals the artist Henrichon gave to them It makes the lions distinctive and their dialogue easy to follow.It is easy to see the anti war message, especially once knowing of the pride s ultimate fate Despite knowing of this political undertone, the reader can t help but be moved A 83% Very Good NotesA kind of cave allegory on liberation, it has high fantasy elements, reflected in war torn Baghdad s unearthly terrain. Despite the originality of the idea, and the wealth of symbolism and meaning such a story might have held, Vaughan did little with this book His predictable plot, thoughtless characterization, awkward dialogue and overpowering allegory drained this book of any strength or beauty it might have had.Start with some factual errors, such as antelopes being kept within sight of lions, sea turtles living in the Tigris, and zoo birds which would have had flight feathers clipped simply flying to escap Despite the originality of the idea, and the wealth of symbolism and meaning such a story might have held, Vaughan did little with this book His predictable plot, thoughtless characterization, awkward dialogue and overpowering allegory drained this book of any strength or beauty it might have had.Start with some factual errors, such as antelopes being kept within sight of lions, sea turtles living in the Tigris, and zoo birds which would have had flight feathers clipped simply flying to escape their cages If they could just fly off, why didn t they do it before These small errors are negligible but typical of the thoughtlessness with which the plot, characters, and dialogue are treated.The overt and sensationalized sexism amongst the lions was insulting Not only because it misrepresented animal sexual behavior particularly that of lions , but because as a thinly veiled analogy of human sexual behavior, it was both simplistic and chauvinistic Like in his Y the Last Man , Vaughan is interested in rape and gender inequality only because they give his male protagonist motivation, not because of how they affect his characters or story in general.One thoughtful commentator pointed out that the rape scene never actually comes to the attention of the protagonist, meaning it couldn t be an attempt to build his character So I guess it s just extraneous to the plot I ll beg off debating which is worse.The animal dialogue was also rather jarring, indicating that lions understood what a brain is, that they measured time in seconds and integers, and that they felt their keepers were beneficent protectors Vaughan did not make any attempt to create a dialogue based on the individual challenges and experiences of being a lion, he just stuck simplistic human characters in lion bodies.At that point, it s not even an allegory, it s just a cartoon Vaughan s lions are not lions, but melodramatic representations of the Iraqi people, a metaphor which becomes increasingly ham fisted and awkward as the story continues By the time we reach the climax, we have the antagonist delivering long philosophical speeches about power and rulership.These prolonged speeches are set directly into the action sequences, so that between winding up and hitting, he delivers a good paragraph of moralism I can only hope if I m ever in a fight, my opponent will try to summarize Plato s Republic between blows.For all that people praise the art, I didn t see much salvageable there, either It was often difficult to tell the lion characters apart and action sequences wereabrupt than exciting The cover s pretty, but not a good representation of what s inside Tack on a weepy ending, say something unoriginal about American Nationalism, and roll credits If you want cute, badass animals in comic form, just read WE3 It has better art, better characterization, a better plot, and less pulpit moralizing from the author My Suggested Readings in Comics This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here EVEN THE GODDAMNED LIONESS HAD A GODDAMNED RAPE BACKSTORY.WHAT THE FUCK, COMICS INDUSTRY.