GN 4. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan. Illustrated by Niko Henrichon and Todd Klein. Published October 2006.
This graphic novel is based, in part, on a true story. In 2003, the Allied Forces were participating in “Shock and Awe,” raining destruction upon Baghdad just prior to occupying the city. Between the damage in the air raid and Iraqi forces looking for defensible positions, many of the animals in the Royal Zoo were killed, stolen, or left to roam the war-torn city. Among this last group was a family of lions. This is their story.
Vaughan, anthropormorphizing these lions, explores the nature of freedom, survival, and the horrors of war. Henrichon’s art is stunning, using a complex play of light and shadow to enhance the emotional impact of each scene. Vaughan’s ability to imbue the animals of Baghdad with so much character, each individual consistant with its species, is magnificient. His plot is rich, enhancing what we know of real events, and well paced. And the conclusion of Pride of Baghdad is as heart-wrenching as it is true.
Rating: 5 out of 5