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Sunday, 3 January 2010


Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Frank Quitely
Colour and Inks: Jamie Grant
Letters: Todd Klein
Publisher: Vertigo

What's it about?
Three animals - a dog, cat and rabbit - are transformed into cyborgs by the United States army.  They are taught to speak and trained to kill on covert military missions.  There have been rumours in the past of the American military taming dolphins and using them as suicide bombers to attack enemy boats.  Regardless of whether these stories are true or not, this book picks up from that idea and takes it several steps further.

The animals escape from their laboratory home and start searching for a distantly remembered home where they were once loved and cared for as pets.  The military wish to recapture the animals and the conclusion to the story starts to unfold. 

What's good about it?
It is simultaneously warming and horrifying.  Grant Morrison is known for writing somewhat odd or unusual stories and his talents shine through here as he forces us to connect us with the animals' emotions and plight, as well as creating vivid human characters within the parameters of just a few short pages.  He keeps the essential dogginess, or cattiness of each animal and gives us an insight into their thoughts and needs.

Morrison uses cultural reference points such as nursery rhymes to reinforce the horror of the animal's treatment.  He debates the ethics of such a project and creates feelings of both revulsion and sympathy in the reader towards the scientists involved in the development of this weapons project.  It is a touching, and brutal story, at times frightening, which should serve as a warning to those who would abuse and experiment on animals.

What's bad about it?
It is very violent, so I wouldn't recommend reading it over breakfast.  The violence is not gratuitous, rather it reflects the military situation that the animals are created for.  It is immediate, explosive, bloody and horrible.

As with Pride of Baghdad, if you don't like animals being given human characteristics, you won't like this.

What's the art like?
The pencils are arresting, compassionate, unflinching and clear.  The page layout is used to good effect to draw you into the story and is an example of more innovative styles within the industry.  In an unusual move special mention should be made regarding the lettering, done by Todd Klein.  His use of different styles for the people and cyborg animals really connects you to each character.

Other information
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 1845761596

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