Saturday, March 1, 2008

W3 - Weaponized Animals Look for Home

We3 is a graphic novel written by Grant Morrison with artwork by Frank Quitely. The story will remind you of The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams. Here, a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, formerly household pets, are "augmented" to turn them into super weapons or biorgs. There bodies are encased in heavily weaponized armour.Their intelligence has been increased and they are capable of rudimentary speech. The dog, W1 a brown Labrador formally known as Bandit, is basically a tank, the cat, W2, a ginger tabby known as Tinker in his former life, is a stealth assassin, and the rabbit, W3 aka Pirate, is trained to deliver mine and poison gas. They are the prototype animal weapons and are slated to be "decommissioned." The doctor, Roseanne Berry, who helped create and train them, helps them to escape. The dog, decides that they should "go home." The military gives chase - you can't have three lethal cyborg animals loose in the world. Much blood is shed before the story comes to a mostly satisfactory conclusion.

W3 ranks at the top of my list of favorite graphic novels. The artwork is done in a style somewhat like manga. Morrison and Quitely do a great job personalizing the animals. The dog still has the basic instinct to serve, to be a "gud dog." W1 is also poignantly despondent wen it thinks it had been a bad dog. The cat, W2, is not at all happy, is more than a little spiteful given the circumstances, and says things such as " Mmmen Stink! Bosss! Stink! Hungry" - think of a death-dealing Bucky Cat from the comic strip Get Fuzzy. The rabbit, would like some grass to eat.

Not surprisingly, the government does not come out looking all that good in this story and your sympathies are with the animals as they fight to survive and to reach the dimly remembered happy place, home. Animal lovers might find themselves a bit teary-eyed by the end.

W3 is definitely for mature readers.