Home > Graphic Novels, review > ‘we3’: a graphic novel review

‘we3’: a graphic novel review

we3 is a collaboration between writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely. It tells the story three animals (a dog, cat, and rabbit) that had been turned into robotic weapons and their escape. This work has come strong recommendations from my comic friends, so I gave it a shot. What did I think of it?

Writing:

For me, we3 felt like it was in the same park as Brian K. Vaughn’s Pride of Baghdad, in that it personified a group of animals escaping some form of captivity and their story after. Whereas Vaughn’s work was highly sentimental for the story of the lions being portrayed (and the metaphor of the Iraqi people they represented), Morrison’s take is devoid of any substantial sympathetic emotion. Most of the work consists of the three escaped robotic animals fighting foes (there’s some distasteful animal violence), not a commentary on the notion of freedom. I assume that was the intent of the work, but I just couldn’t feel it. For that reason the work didn’t seem that strong. The overall plot is alright, but again is brought down because of the lack of emotion.

Art:

Frank Quitely is obviously a talented artist as is shown here in we3. In fact, I had no problem with Quitely’s art. My complaints involve the presentation of the work and the strong emphasis Quitely places on the violent elements of the story. The below example details one of my greater grievances with the work, in that the many smaller panels contained in a larger one give the sense of ‘jumbledness.’ It also gave me the feel of an action movie (this is also aided by the color choice and inking) based on this panel presentation. It deviates away from the sentimental animal story. Quitely also takes Morrison’s violence in the narrative to an extreme. For an animal escape story it’s incredibly violent, which I feel like detracts again from the intent. I liked Quitely’s art on the whole, but the presentation and the graphic violence added more to the faults of the narrative.

Final Opinion:

Blasphemous it may be, but I didn’t like we3. I can see where it had a lot of potential, but its intent feels really misplaced. I can understand the use of violence since they’re robotic weapons, but there’s just not enough beyond that to validate it’s intent. When it is compared to Vaughn’s Pride of Baghdad it feels inferior in terms of it’s writing. The art is still good, but it clearly emphasizes the focus of violence.

we3 is owned by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (writer and artist respectively). It’s published by Vertigo.

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