Let Freedom Roar
Based on a true story revolving around a group of lions that escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during an American Bombing, Pride of Baghdad follows Zill, Noor, Safa, and little Ali as they find freedom for the first time in ages in a world torn by a war fought by man. If they’re to survive in the wild, they’ll have to abandon their daily meals and fresh water for dangerous game and blood soaked water. It’s not so much a look at survival as it is the cost and effects of freedom. As they traverse the city of Baghdad the lions are tested to their limits, and then some, encountering other dangerous creatures and the modern weapons of war.
Written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Niko Henrichon, and published by VERTIGO, Pride of Baghdad is a jaw-dropping look at the war being fought overseas by America in the 21st century. The characters are strong, the artwork and color palette is breathtaking, and the allegories and conflicts are page turning to say the least. I finished the book in a single sitting and found myself wanting more as the cover folded on the trade paper back. Vaughan is known for creating strong and memorable characters, and this is no exception.
One of the things that I thought was very interesting was the relationships between the different types of animals in the zoo. Each is given their own personalities, culture, and seemingly religion to make them similar to the pride of lions, but on their own completely different groups of “people.”
If I could sum this up for someone looking to read this graphic novel, I’d tell them that it was The Lion King for adults. Not that the Disney film doesn’t cover some very real tragedies, it just doesn’t push the envelope like Vaughan’s Pride of Baghdad does.