Author: Grant Morrison
Illustrator: Frank Quitely
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are a pair that few can match in comics. Each is brilliant in their art and their collaboration on We3 renders a beautifully crafted story. As one can gather from the cover, We3 is about a trio of animals who have been technologically altered by the military to be covert killing machines. When a fourth generation weaponized dog becomes available, the We3 project is shut down and the animals are ordered to be terminated. Conscious of their demise, a dog (formerly called Bandit and now referred to as #1), cat (Tinker/#2), and rabbit (Pirate/#3) escape in a desperate attempt for their lives.
Morrison is effective in instilling an emotional response in the reader — even when the protagonists are pets in armored mech suits. Through technological advancements, the animals are able to speak in a rudimentary, computerized English that gives them a human quality that gives them greater value than the average family pet. Like Orwell’s Animal Farm, the animals in Morrison’s tale convey a much deeper meaning — the corruption of politics and the effect of war on the individual.
Each animal in We3 has a distinct personality. #1 (dog) always wants to be good, #2 (cat) is distrusting of the others, and #3 (rabbit) is a more finicky creature who often scampers away from the pack. These personalities are not by chance and show that even with the military’s tampering, the true sense of who they are remains intact.
After an escape from the military facility, the animals seek to go home. Each animal was once a stolen pet, but as the story reveals, home for them is not just a physical return to their owner’s house. Going home is as much a quest to biologically restore their former selves. The secret of these animal killing machines will ruin political careers and there is no limit to what the government will do to ensure that their project does not become public.
I absolutely love Frank Quitely’s artwork — he has a great sense of perspective and he makes excellent use of focus in several of his pictures. There is a very subtle sense of emotion that is conveyed even in the eyes of the characters without forcing the pictures to be drawn with realism.
I expect We3 is a comic I will read many times over. There are so many little gems that I remain curious over. I wonder if the reference to Updike’s Rabbit, Run had a deeper meaning than just a clever homage. Rabbit Angstrom and #3 bear similarities in fleeing the life society carved out for them and the heart-wrenching death that surrounds it.
I really don’t have a lot more to say other than Grant and Frank — wonderful work.