Story Synopsis: Pride Of Baghdad

A pride of lions escape from the Baghdad Zoo and discover freedom can come at a great cost in this week’s Comic Rewind, Pride of Baghdad.

In the city of Baghdad a pride of four lions were living the zoo life.  Zill, Safa and young Ali were content living in captivity and having their food provided by the zookeepers.  However, Ali’s mom, Noor, only dreamt of life outside and escaping.  She tried to enlist the help of an antelope along with other zoo animals in order to plan their escape. 

 Pride Of Baghdad

However, it was the Spring of 2003 and the Iraq War had just reached the zoo.  During an American bombing run the zoo walls were damaged and it became time for all the animals to give freedom a try.

The four lions discovered life outside the walls was a lot more difficult than they had expected.  Was freedom worth the cost it extracted on you and your pride?

Pride of Baghdad was written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Niko Henrichon.  DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint published the volume in 2008.

This is on a lot of people’s best graphic novels of all-time list.  I have had it on my to-read list for a long time because of that.  However, I put it off because it just didn’t sound very interesting to me.  I’ve been wrong so many times about comics and decided to suck it up and read this graphic novel.  However, I was right [for once] about this comic.

What Are The Relationships Between The Pride of Baghdad?

We get the briefest of glimpses into the personality of each lion.  This leads to me not caring at all about each lion and what happens to them.  The relationship between the lions isn’t very clear either.  Safa and Noor are both female, but we don’t know if Noor is Zill’s current mate.  We know Ali is Noor’s son, but is Zill his father?  It doesn’t appear that he is, but they don’t ever mention his father or another lion who used to live there.  This led me to be confused by every interaction between Zill and Ali.

Pride Of Baghdad

Pro-Colonialism Commentary?

This is a true story and this comic is supposed to be a commentary on the Iraq War and I’m assuming it is against the war and is using the lions as a substitute for the Iraqi people. However, it doesn’t come across as anti-US involvement.

The way it came across to me is that the zookeepers [US government] are the only ones keeping them safe and without them the lions [Iraqi people] aren’t prepared for the world.  Freedom isn’t worth the price and it is better to live in captivity.  I really doubt that is the statement the comic is trying to make, but that is the impression it left on me.  As a political statement this is a huge fail.

Without the politics of the comic and reading it very literally I don’t think it is very good either.  It was boring and lacked to make the reader connect with the characters.  A big reason this happened was because it isn’t very long and didn’t have enough time to build the connection.  The story wasn’t awful, but I would never put this on any top 10 or even top 100 list.

If you want to see a peak of the Iraq War from an unlikely perspective then this is an interesting comic, but don’t fall into the hype surrounding the comic.



Where To Buy This Comic

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