Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon (art)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Warnings for sexual content and violence/slight gore.
This was an incredibly emotional and ultimately sad graphic novel. There’s so much symbolism and so many message presented in this story through the perspective of a group of lions living in a zoo in Baghdad during the Iraq War. I really enjoyed this story, even including how heartbreaking it is and the art is fantastic the whole way through.
Full Review with Spoilers
This graphic novel was relatively short and the whole story is contained in this one volume, but it has such an impact despite that. The story follows four lines that escape from a zoo in Baghdad after an airstrike from the U.S. destroys the city.
I actually really liked the fact that this story was a very obvious representation of how war affects more than just those fighting in it. Really there are a large number of themes and difficult subjects addressed. The naivety of the lions about their own captivity and what humans are like is startling.
I had a lot of mixed emotions at the conclusion, the fact that the group of lines was killed at the end was sad obviously but at the same time I have to agree with the closing line that they are free. It was obvious that they had become far too domesticated to survive. The focus on the fact that it was American soldiers that killed the lions, seemingly for no reason initially was uncomfortable. It comes off as a huge message against the war in the first place as I’m sure it was meant to and back when this comic was originally published in 2006 it really is no surprise how heavy every message of this story was. It is also worth noting that the story is a fictionalized account of actual events that happened.
While it is a somewhat uncomfortable story It is well written and the art is beautiful. Well worth a read.
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