”What We Said Then” is an ongoing feature at Comics Bulletin, displaying past reviews from Comics Bulletin that relates to the prevalent comics of the present.
With this week’s release of The Multiversity – Pax Americana by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, we are going to take a look at arguably their most definitive work – We3. This review happened to be written by me nine years ago at Comics Bulletin (when the website was called Silver Bullet Comics Books). I don’t remember We3 quite like I used to, so I am going to jog my memory by reading the masterpiece again. Read what I had to say about We3 way back when…
And then go read We3 for yourselves.
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely are one of the industry’s great dynamic duos, earning acclaim with books like New X-Men and JLA: Earth 2. Their latest collaborative project, We3, brings these two talents to another level of greatness. The collected mini-series begins with an assassination of a foreign dictator by the United States Military. It is revealed that these assassins are not humans, but cybernetic animals. Scientists used modern technology to turn a dog, a cat, and a rabbit into technological terrors. These animals have autonomous identities, speak English, and work cohesively as a killing unit. They become “We3”, the government’s most deadly assassins. The crux of the story follows the government’s decommissioning of We3, and the animals’ subsequent getaway.
Morrison emphasizes that we create our own fear. Scientists create weapons for the intention to combat fear, but ends up causing more panic than intended. The animals of We3 are a metaphor for the increasing dangers of modern weaponry. However, the reader more easily identifies and sympathizes with the murderous animals. We3 are victims of society, unjustly taken from their natural environment against their will. Since humans and animals have a common instinct for survival, readers encourage the violent actions of We3 against their oppressors. Unfortunately, this act of encouragement justifies the use of their deadly weapons. Society claims that we do not want war, yet war will always be present with enough due cause.
We3’s art is among the best I have ever seen in this medium. Frank Quitely conveys a story with more meaning in his strong emotional visuals, rather than forcing the readers to depend on dialogue. The locations of panels are constantly varying in size and scope. Sometimes there are so many panels on each page that it emphasizes a more animated quality. Quitely’s splash pages are so realistically brilliant that it has the ability to leave the reader mesmerized. The colors of Jamie Grant were also absolutely brilliant. Whether it was a blade of grass, a flash of lightning, or the color of the cat’s whisker, everything is shaded with the most detailed organic quality.
We3 draws upon our most basic fears and instincts. We relate to these animals, but they are also the means to man’s destruction. When coupled with its revolutionary artwork, we are treated to a riveting tale of violence, death, and a hope for a better tomorrow.