Pride of Baghdad is a graphic novel written by Brian K. Vaughan with art done by Niko Henrichon. Published in 2006, it is definitely a work of its time when the USA and America struggled to come to terms with what was happening in Iraq. The illustrations are top notch and Vaughan exhibits a keen, dark sense of animal humor that’s all-too-human.
The story looks at the loss of innocence and reminds the reader that we humans are still part of the animal kingdom. In the post-apocalyptic landscape of bombed out Baghdad we are the walkers, the ones who bring pain and devastation.
As good as the opening pages are (right up to the Giraffe scene), this novel, like the Lions it follows, loses its way. It gets bogged down by a bit too much expository in the middle (I doubt the story needed a sea turtle to emerge from the Tigris River to unload an information dump).
From this point on the author takes shots in the dark at themes concerning freedom, protection, exploitation, and other bits of the human condition. It is after the first third of the novel that Pride of Baghdad loses its status as an instant classic.
The analogies in the novel become thicker and harder to ignore over time. The resulting dialogue explains a bit too much and consequently comes off as little preachy.
Conclusion: Three/Five Stars Subtract or add a star depending on you views of the Iraq war. Regardless, I still recommend it for a quick read that remains relevant today.