A Cautionary Tale
Human Skateboard

Strange Attractions 3

We3_5We don’t see enough talking animals around here. Yes, there’s the ambitious ape at the top of the page, but I think it’s about time we saw a few more improbable beasts. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s graphic novella We3 isn’t exactly heavy on dialogue and its animal protagonists have a rather limited vocabulary, but that’s part of the story’s charm. Actually, charm is perhaps a misleading word, as the book’s eponymous heroes are escaped lab animals. Lab animals equipped with surface-to-air missiles and other military hardware.

A dog, a cat and a rabbit – named 1, 2 and 3 respectively – have been surgically wired into high-tech armour and trained as loyal fighting machines. As we see in the book’s opening scenes, the animals are faster and more vicious than their human counterparts, and of course more disposable. When the project is decommissioned and the animals marked for destruction, We3 escape into a confusing and dangerous world with their creators in pursuit. Much of the story is told from the animals’ perspective, with a mosaic of tiny inset images capturing details of human faces and simultaneous events – a device that highlights the animals’ ability to work as a team and suggests a non-human perception of time. Morrison and Quitely manage to extract a great deal of poignancy from this outlandish tale - and in particular from the animals’ limited awareness of their predicament - along with moments of dark and visceral humour. We3 is arguably the duo’s finest collaboration and manages to be brutal, hilarious and affecting, often on the same page. 

Go on, buy a copy. We won't tell. More Morrison and Quitely here, complete with in utero wrestling.