Wednesday, May 22, 2013


More Baltimore County Library reading.

WE3 is a Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely venture that was published by Vertigo.  Between the Vertigo imprimatur and the glowing reviews, I had fairly high expectations, though Morrison has been hit and miss for me with his other writings.  I also like Quitely's art quite a bit.

Oddly, the art was one of the most disappointing elements.  This being the HC Deluxe Edition, there was some explanation of how the armor the dog, cat and rabbit wear was reached.  I found the rounded quality of the armor to be detrimental.  The characters appeared more like balls with animal heads attached than functional armor for combat situations.  In fact, until the armor was removed late in the story I wasn't sure it was robotics with the heads attached rather than armor covering the entire bodies of the animals.

Aside from that, Morrison and Quitely are really lacking any subtlty in this anti-war tale.  They go over the top with the gore.  I'm not saying an anti-war book, or even a pro-war book, shouldn't show the damage that projectiles cause to human bodies, or animal bodies for that matter.  But I've seen photos of war dead from Civil War through Iraq War.  They don't look like this.  This kind of internal organ and bony structure you wouldn't see without an autopsy or vivisection.  It was so over the top it just took me out of the story.

And that's saying something, but because the story's no more subtle.   Pets are stolen to be used in these experiments of merging animal with armor and computer programming.  It's a blatant pull at heartstrings that makes no sense in the context of the story.  Why would a clandestine military run operation take the high exposure risk of kidnapping pets when experimental animals are so readily available by regular channels that wouldn't raise any suspicion?  It's like grave robbing when there's a ready supply of people donating their bodies for research.

The scientists and military officers are nothing but charicatures, either.  The lead scientist is about half a breath from straight up mad scientist cackling.  The military guy in charge of the operation is war mongering pretty much for the sake of war mongering alone.  The Senator overseeing the operation is a weasel.  Christ, why don't we have the sainted, anti-government homeless guy who comes to the rescue in the end?  Oops, we did that, too.

The saving grace of the book is the three animal leads.  The dog is loyal, the cat a sociopath, and the rabbit, well, I'm not sure what the rabbit's personality is.  Flighty?  The computer tech attached to their brains allows them to speak.  They speak in the broken thoughts of the animals they are, not sophisticated, abstract human thought processes.  There was a core good idea here with these animals and the tech wedded to them, but it got lost in polemics.

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