Things I Think

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We3, Underneath the Armor

Firstly, wow. I have never struggled so much to read a graphic novel before. Turning each page pained me more and more as I grew emotionally attached to the animals. I gave my dog many treats after finishing the story. He was pleased. Anyway…

One of the first moments that struck me was the first up close and personal encounter with We3 on page 15, I believe (my version does not have page numbers). After We3 pull through with a successful assassination, and they are back in the USAF Experimental Area, they are in a room with scientists and technicians,  hooked up to many different wires and such. The top panel is a long shot, putting visual distance between the reader and We3. At this point we can only see the body armor shells, seemingly inanimate, unaware of what is inside.

The next two panels are closeup shots from man’s point of view. Specifically, from the men working on We3. The panel that impacted me most is the panel where we can see the reflection of the men in 1’s helmet.  Before we can see what is underneath the helmet, we can see what, or who is responsible. The reflection clearly shows who is pulling the puppet strings of these weapons. The next panel is the last image before we see underneath the armor. The armored shells are slick, shiny, and lifeless, providing a visual contrast to what lies beneath the armor.

The final panel is an image of We3 without their helmets. This is the first visual encounter with the faces of the animals. Each animal looks off into the distance, not with a look of vacancy, but unawareness. This one large panel is also framed with smaller panels, or security screens that show close-up shots of each animal’s eyes. Through their eyes it becomes clear that while they might be enhanced weapons, they cannot grasp what they have become. Their eyes relate their innocence and their humane qualities, evoking the sympathy of the readers.

As a bit of a side note, the use of eyes to provoke sympathy can also be seen in the aliens in District 9. This demonstrates that familiar animals are not the only creatures that can evoke sympathy with their eyes. As long as there is a display of humane qualities expressed through the eyes, the creatures will always have the sympathy of this viewer.


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