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Cover artwork to the We3 trade paperback. Art by Frank Quitely.
Cover artwork to the We3 trade paperback. Art by Frank Quitely.

Publisher Vertigo Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Mini-series
Publication dates 2004
Number of issues 3
Main character(s) Bandit
Creative team
Writer(s) Grant Morrison
Artist(s) Frank Quitely
Jamie Grant

We3 is a three-issue American comic book mini-series by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, who describe its kinetic style as "Western Manga". It was published in 2004 by the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics, with a trade paperback released in 2005.


[edit] Plot

The story follows the journey of We3, a squad of three prototype "animal weapons," as they flee captivity. Following the decision to terminate them in preparation for expanding the project of which they are a part, their escape is engineered by their trainer. The group consists of a dog, "Bandit" a.k.a. "1"; a cat, "Tinker" a.k.a. "2"; and a rabbit, "Pirate" a.k.a. "3", who were all kidnapped from a nearby city and encased in robotic armor. They were also given the ability to speak through implants in their skulls; this ability is, however, severely limited - as one scientist notes, "don't expect the sonnets of Shakespeare." The armor in which the animals are encased also fields numerous weapons, including mine laying devices, machine guns and razor claws.

As We3 break free and try to find their way home, the US Air Force attempts to capture them before anyone can find out about the Animal Weapons program. We3 are pursued by helicopter gunships and troops on foot, but their weaponry and fighting skill is vastly superior and they dispatch all soldiers sent against them with apparent ease. In desperation, the military and scientific personnel charged with We3's recapture release a swarm of cybernetically enhanced rats, themselves prototypes within the Animal Weapon program. Once again the effort fails - We3 evade the verminous pursuit, destroying a railway bridge (and a train passing across it) in the process.

We3 reach a city and encounter a father and son out hunting with their pet dog. Shocked by the appearance of the cybernetic animals, the father opens fire on the rabbit with a shotgun, wounding it severely and damaging its speech implant. 1 and 2 immediately attack and kill the father, an act for which 1 later exhibits great remorse. Following this, We3 ends up in an urban railyard, where they encounter a homeless man who feeds them. Police and soldiers arrive and arrest the homeless man. The program directors have sent out animal weapon 4, a mastiff encased in similar armor to We3, which was intended to represent the next stage of the program, as a last ditch effort to stop them. Weapon 4 kills the rabbit, but not before it is grievously damaged by the latter's mines. The scientist who engineered We3's escape has agreed to lure 1 into the firing line of three snipers as a form of plea bargain. However, she recants at the last minute, throws herself into the sniper's line of fire, and is killed. 1 and 2 team up to fight 4, which is subsequently blinded by the cat. The cat, dog, and mastiff break through an expressway sound barrier and land on the expressway, causing a serious car accident. The police arrive and open fire. The mastiff tries to kill the police officers, and is terminated by his handlers. Exhausted and desperate, 1 and 2 make their way to what 1 feels to be "home" only to find an old neighborhood being demolished and reconstructed. The damage they have suffered (1 is especially hurt, but 2 manages to survive all their travails relatively unscathed) awakens them to the truth that their armor suits are not intrinsically part of themselves, and can be discarded. They rid themselves of their exo-skeletons, which are approaching a point of critical instability; an army patrol arrives in time for the suits to explode, killing all of them. Meanwhile, 1 and 2 have escaped to a tumbledown basement where they are encountered by the homeless man, who had been looking for them. The story's final scene shows the dog and cat, no longer 1 and 2, sitting with the homeless man, who originally found them in the railyard, on the steps of a courthouse where one of the scientists is preparing to testify before a commission about the Animal Weapon program.

[edit] Reception

We3 was nearly unanimously praised by critics, who particularly celebrated Quitely's experimentation with panel layout and page design. For example, Quitely's action scenes often depicted a large primary image overlaid with dozens of tiny panels showing extreme close-ups of individual actions. Morrison's characterization (the title characters are sympathetic, despite their limited communicative abilities) and pro-animal rights stance also attracted praise.

[edit] Publication

The mini-series has been collected as a trade paperback:[1] entitled We3 (104 pages, Vertigo, 2005 ISBN 1-4012-0495-3).

[edit] Movie adaptation

New Line Cinema has optioned We3 as a movie project. Morrison is attached as screenwriter and completed the script in 2006, while Don Murphy, Susan Montford and Rick Benattar are attached as producers. The film is currently in development. If the film is made, the cybernetic animals would be completely computer-generated. [2]

[edit] References

[edit] External links

[edit] Reviews

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