The latest in a string of graphic novels to look at the war in Iraq, Pride of Baghdad takes a different approach. Inspired by true events, it follows four lions that escaped from the Baghdad Zoo during U.S. bombing and their attempt at surviving in the devastated city.

Written by Brian K. Vaughan, Pride is a provocative meditation on freedom, how it is achieved and at what cost. Along their journey, the lions meet both indigenous animals and other escapees from the zoo who cause them to question whether to continue on or to return back to captivity.

Painted in beautiful detail by Niko Henrichon, the artwork captures both the destruction and the beauty of the region.

As an allegory, Pride raises some very interesting questions about the nature of liberation and goes to the heart of the conflict with Iraq. It’s a work that elevates the status of the graphic novel in the art world and has considerable crossover appeal for those unfamiliar with the medium. It also happens to be a particularly entertaining and re-readable story.

Grade: A

Pride of Baghdad is currently available.