Pride of Baghdad

By Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Format: Hardcover, $19.99

Subjects: Comics and comic books, etc.

ISBN: 978-1-40120-314-6

Reviewed by: Library Journal

During an American bombing raid in 2003, four lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo. That true story is the basis for this excellent fable by Vaughan (Ex Machina; Runaways) and Henrichon in which the animals can talk to one another and discuss the relative merits of captivity and life in the wild. After they're unexpectedly freed, Zill, the alpha male; his one-eyed ex-lover, Safa; his current lover, Noor; and Noor's cub, Ali, must fend for themselves in an unfamiliar land: the ruined city. They discover dangers both man-made and -despite Noor's insistence that animals can rise above their baser natures - among their own kind. This graphic novel works as an adventure story; a meditation on the pursuit, the problems, and the meaning of freedom; and a thoughtful allegory about the war in Iraq, with every scene having a deeper subtext. Vaughan's lions, with distinctive and well-rounded personalities, inspire sympathy; Henrichon's animals are expertly rendered, and his coloring is lush (with some gore in the battle scenes). This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections. -S.R.  

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