Book Review: We3 (Grant Morrison)

Publisher: Vertigo

Pages: 104

Release Date: July 1st 2005

Summary:

Writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely tell the unforgettable story of three innocent pets-a dog, a cat and a rabbit-who have been converted into deadly cyborgs by a sinister military weapons program.With nervous systems amplified to match their terrifying mechanical exoskeletons, the members of Animal Weapon 3 have the firepower of a battalion between them. But they are just the program’s prototypes, and now that their testing is complete, they’re slated to be permanently “de-commissioned”-until they seize their one chance to make a desperate run for freedom. Relentlessly pursued by their makers, the WE3 team must navigate a frightening and confusing world where their instincts and heightened abilities make them as much a threat as those hunting them-but a world, nonetheless, in which somewhere there is something called “home.”

Review:

I’ve wanted to read this book since I read Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man in 2011. Nathan recommended it as it had similar themes, so when he bought it I snuck in there and read it first (mwahaha)

I really enjoyed this, although it is crazy sad. Despite the destruction they cause and the amount of lives they take, my sympathies are completely with the animals who have been encased in armour and weapony and even taught basic speech, just to make them useful weapons for mankind. But when the humans decide they are no longer useful, the 3 take the first opportunity to escape and try and find home.

I love the way the animals speak: it’s simplistic and repetitive and this makes it believable, as I imagine there is only so much you can do when teaching animals to talk. The art work is really beautiful: it gives so much expression to the animals and does a great job in showing the brutality and gore of the fight scenes. I did struggle to follow the story at some points though: there’s a lot of bits without talking, and some panels that are a bit all over the place. I think this was a purposeful stylistic choice as it is mentioned in the book that animals perceive time differently from humans, so it’s almost as if we see their point of view between the panels. I don’t always feel like I’m very good at reading graphic novels, so this might just be a personal struggle.

The way the animals react to humans and the world around them is also fascinating. A particular high point for me was when the dog pulls a man out of the river and tells himself he’s a “Gud dog” for helping; as the panel moves out, we see the man’s guts spilling from his stomach, clearly already dead. In another scene, after the rabbit is attacked by a man with a shotgun, the dog goes into attack mode and kills him; afterwards he reprimands himself with “Bad dog”.

For those who enjoyed Morrison’s Animal Man, like me, or if you like graphic novels that deal with animal welfare and the morality of using animals for our own means then this is for you.

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