During the American bombing of Baghdad in 2003, the zoo was destroyed and four lions escaped. Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon fictionalize this snippet of history in their new graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad. Think Animal Farm set in an exploding and burning city, minus the commies.

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Henrichon's lush illustrations create an experience akin to watching a great action movie. The details and colors capture the violence and beauty and emotion of Vaughan's narrative perfectly. Like all great comics and the best of movies, the story lives in the images as much as in the words.

Vaughan (known best for his work on the superb titles Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man) is able to get across exposition and subtext with a handful of words. There is plenty of antiwar, environmental, and social allegory in this book. However, it comes through the glossy comic pages gently, like the old wisdom in folk tales and campfire stories. This book shows the senseless misery of war without preaching or moralizing. Vaughan is one of the "it" writers of comics for a good reason: talent and humanity.