WE3 is a fairly short tale (just under 100 pages) that the publisher calls a cross between The Incredble Journey (the Disney film about three pets trying to find their way home) and The Terminator (the explosion-fest featuring a robotic weapon). That’s a fairly good description. The pets in this case are a dog, a cat, and a rabbit, who’ve been used as test subjects for experimental weapons using animals as semi-autonomous control systems.

Fairly predictably, the program gets shut down, and just as predictably, the combat-enabled mammals escape, their creators in hot pursuit. That predictability is a bit of a disappointment. Even though the whole plot isn’t that obvious, the entire first third of the book is just the above setup.

It’s stylishly presented, however. For example, the first 13 pages are presented without any dialog or captions, and after a few pages of mostly-expository dialog it reverts to another 8-page sequence with minimal verbiage. Showing disconnected security-camera shots, it’s a bit unclear at times what it’s supposed to be showing, but the upshot is clear: the doggy, kitty, and bunny are making a high-body-count break for it. This sequence and several others clearly relish in the freedom that the Vertigo label allows, showing trailing entrails and oozing gobbets of blood. Quitely is well-suited to this, and does his usual excellent job. (And the reduced use of humans minimises the distraction of his trademark jaws.)

The scenes featuring just the escaping animals (designated “1″, “2″, and “3″) are not as text-free, however, as their electronic enhancements have given them the ability to speak in rudimentary sentences with a very limited vocabulary. Morrison does a good job of relating their thoughts, and even giving them personalities of a sort (consistent with their respective animal natures). I even ended up caring about what happened to them.

WE3 isn’t going to go down as one of Morrison’s masterpieces. It’s a simple idea and it’s executed with imagination… but without any real surprises.

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