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  Library Journal Review

During an American bombing raid in 2003, four lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo. That true story is the basis for this excellent fable by Vaughan (Ex Machina; Runaways) and Henrichon in which the animals can talk to one another and discuss the relative merits of captivity and life in the wild. After they're unexpectedly freed, Zill, the alpha male; his one-eyed ex-lover, Safa; his current lover, Noor; and Noor's cub, Ali, must fend for themselves in an unfamiliar land: the ruined city. They discover dangers both man-made and-despite Noor's insistence that animals can rise above their baser natures-among their own kind. This graphic novel works as an adventure story; a meditation on the pursuit, the problems, and the meaning of freedom; and a thoughtful allegory about the war in Iraq, with every scene having a deeper subtext. Vaughan's lions, with distinctive and well-rounded personalities, inspire sympathy; Henrichon's animals are expertly rendered, and his coloring is lush (with some gore in the battle scenes). This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections.-S.R. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Vaughan and Henrichon recount, from the escapees' perspective, a real incident of the Iraq War in which lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo. Beautiful watercolor panels display the lion pride's individual personalities as well as their natural zeal for freshly killed meat. When bombers lay waste their artificial den, two lionesses, a cub, and the pride's patriarch wander through the broken zoo landscape and then into town. They confront wonders, many of them nightmarish: dead humans, a captured and mistreated lion (used as a symbol of the Iraqi forces), the horizon, and, eventually, their assassins, American soldiers. Although this is in many respects a talking-animal comic, the politics and science of captive creatures and a war-torn land are respectfully limned by Vaughan's characterizations and Henrichon's attention to anatomical movement and architectural detail. The lions' particular viewpoints--male, female, old, young--allow moral questions to be considered from several experiential bases. This has the potential to become a crossover discovery for readers unfamiliar with or unconvinced of the graphic novel's literary capabilities. FranciscaGoldsmith.
Summary
The startlingly original look at life on the streets of Baghdad during the Iraq War inspired by true events arrives in a stunning new softcover edition. In his award-winning work on Y- THE LAST MAN and EX MACHINA (one of Entertainment Weekly's 2005 Ten Best Fiction titles), writer Brian K. Vaughan has displayed an understanding of both the cost of survival and the political nuances of the modern world. Now, in this provocative graphic novel, Vaughan examines life on the streets of war-torn Iraq. The experience is made all the more evocative by the lush, spectacular artwork of Niko Henrichon.In the spring of 2003, a pride of lions escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during an American bombing raid. Lost and confused, hungry but finally free, the four lions roamed the decimated streets of Baghdad in a desperate struggle for their lives. In documenting the plight of the lions, PRIDE OF BAGHDAD raises questions about the true meaning of liberation - can it be given, or is it earned only through self-determination and sacrifice? And in the end, is it truly better to die free than to live life in captivity?
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