06 August 2007

We3 (DC, 2005)

The story of We3 is simple: three cybernetically enhanced animals, a cat, a dog and a rabbit, decide to escape from their military captors and decide to search for a new home where they will be safe and undisturbed. Along the way, though, they kill a lot of soldiers. A frickin' lot.

Writer Grant Morrison has never made secret his stand on animal rights issues. He's pro-animal. He'll give animals the right to vote if that was possible. This isn't the first time he used comics to bring the issue of animal abuse by humans to the forefront. He first did it when he was writer for DC's Animal Man back in the late 80s. In that book, he tackled medical experiments on animals and indiscriminate fishing among other things. Here in We3, it's the use of animals as weapons of war. Not too far fetched as one might think. Back in the Second World War, dogs were used to stick magnetized mines onto the underside of tanks and the American Army toyed with the idea of using bats as living, breathing bombers.

We3 is made up of: Bandit the dog, codenamed "1", Tinker the cat, codenamed "2" and Pirate the fluffy bunny, codenamed "3"...

But they aren't the only animals that have been changed into weapons. The guys in white coats have also turned rats into living weapons of the future, including grafting a drill onto their heads...

Damn! That's just mean.

They have also turned this guy into one of their WMDs:

It's Robo-Dog! Fear the Woof! Actually, he's codenamed We4 but Robo-Dog is way cooler, I think. He looks like a metal gorilla with a slobbering bulldog with devil eyes for a head.

Anyway, the We3 escape when their handler accidentally-on-purpose forgot to lock the animals' restraints when she learned that the program is scheduled to be decommissioned and the animals are ordered to be put down.

The dog, cat and rabbit escape, the army sends a lot of soldiers to hunt them down and terminate the trio but We3 eliminate them instead.

"The dog alone is armed with ground to air missiles". They equipped the dog with SAMs! Now that's just dumb. Not as dumb as cloning carnivorous dinosaurs but it's close. By the way, the cat has Wolverine-like razor claws and the rabbit can shoot out mines from his butt. Cleaning that guy's cage must have been hell.

The army sends out those rats we saw above when their human soldiers failed big time. Well, the rats fared no better. As a last resort, they send in Robo-dog in Metal Gorilla Armour to finally, finally finish what no one else can. Can this son of a bitch do it? Well, he managed to lay down the law on Pirate, the fluffy mine laying rabbit:

The bad dog killed the rabbit! You bastard! Tinker the cat wants revenge:

I don't care how tough you say you are. If your field of vision is filled with an image of an armoured cat high up in the air getting ready to claw your eyes out, you will crap in your pants. That is a scary sight indeed.

Bandit and Tinker manage to escape and find a home with a homeless man (how ironic is that?). They also escape their armour which was grafted onto their bodies but due to all the fights they went through, the screws became loose or something like that. The point is that the armour is definitely not part of the animal. It can be discarded. And We4, or Woof the Robo-Bulldog? The army gave the termination codeword when the bulldog tried to eat a police officer during the fight with Tinker and Bandit. Robo-Bulldog's head exploded. The end.

All in all, We3 is a very nice story about the disrespectful things Man does to other creatures in order for Man to guarantee his own dominance. Frank Quitely's artwork is beautiful. He makes the We3 animals sympathetic without any dialogue (although the animals do speak albeit in a very simple form of English). Coupled with Grant Morrison's brilliant characterisation and this three issue series makes me say, "Dem's Good Readin'..".

The trade collection is available from Amazon.

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