Pride of Baghdad

Amidst the horror of war a group of lions escape the zoo, in this “inspired by true events” story, and reflect the deeper meaning of the War on Terror in Iraq while trying to get to safety. At the start three lions are set free when a bomb from an American plane lands in the zoo. With their freedom at hand the lions are unsure what to do. Noor, the youngest and head lioness, is concerned and makes a poignant statement, “Freedom can’t be given, only earned.” This and other truisms pop up as the lions head away from the zoo on their journey. Along the way they battle a bear, visit a palace, and come to learn the price of their freedom. In many ways the tale of Noor, Zil, Saffa, and Ali serves as an allegory to mirror that of their human counterparts in Iraq.

Artist Niko Henrichon is unafraid to paint the reality of war with his color artwork. He shows us life, death, struggle, survival, gain, and loss with realistic drawings. Although the violence of the struggle is shown, there is no reveling in it. There are no gory scenes just to show some blood and guts. Each panel is carefully planned and plotted to maximize its impact. Brian Vaughan’s writing serves as the perfect counterpart to the incredible artwork. He is able to convey truth, emotion, and question in an understandable format.

This title serves as an excellent addition to curriculum for older teens. It will help them understand the best way possible…by asking questions. Pride is a must-have graphic novel for every collection and makes an excellent addition.

Pride of Baghdad
By Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Niko Henrichon
ISBN: 9781401203153
DC Comics/Vertigo, 2006