Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review:: Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

Title: Pride of Baghdad
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Format: Graphic Novel Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★

Apparently I just need to read everything Brian K. Vaughan has ever written. Pride of Baghdad is beautiful, painful, and everything I could have wanted out of this story.

Pride of Baghdad is based off of a true story. During the Iraq war, a group of lions escaped from the zoo in Baghdad. Vaughan gives these animals a voice, telling their tale, and their feelings.

The work is heavily anti-zoo, pointing out how these animals are no longer able to exist outside of the confines of the zoo, but also not entirely happy with their cage. One of the older lions remembers what it's like to live in the wild, and desperately wants to escape. The others aren't so sure.

And then we see what happens when they do. At first, I wasn't sure about Henrichon's artwork, but as the story progressed, I was happier and happier with it. In some parts, it's sketchy, and in others more refined. But in totality, I think it's what was most appropriate for this story.

Which wasn't an easy read. It was honestly painful in parts. I cried. I cried throughout the entire thing and was hurt by the end. But Vaughan knows how to do this, without making you feel manipulated. Like in Saga, he manages to write something true and gritty, rather than going for the easy punches. Pride of Baghdad is a difficult read simply because it tells the story in a way that I'd see it.

And yeah, it hurts.

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