I have chosen to analyze page 105 in Grant Morrison’s and Frank Quitley’s We3. I thought this page had particular significance because it is the point in the graphic novel where Bandit realizes that the coat of armor in which he is encased is artificial, and not part of his physical, biological being. As he descends the stairs he says, “Bad coat. Coat. Is coat not ‘Bandit’”, and shortly thereafter says, “is coat not we”. Bandit’s recognition of the fact that the armor is unnatural alludes to the ominous implications science fiction often associates with the integration of living beings and inorganic materials/machinery.
The final frame of the page is a close up of Bandit’s eyes. Often in literature, eyes symbolize the gateway to the soul, or at least symbolize the degree to which a being can be benevolent, or humanlike. As such, it is fitting that the frame in which Bandit realizes that the armor is not him, “not we”, is one that zooms in on his eyes. This shows that at this point, when he recognizes the armor to be unnatural and alien, Bandit’s true self is differentiating between his body and the unnatural augmentations that have been made to it. Moreover, this recognition exemplifies the degree to which lesser cognitive beings (i.e. animals) can distinguish between natural and artificial life forms, speaking to the importance and necessity to be able to do so. Also, Bandit’s eyes are extremely hostile looking, again speaking to the negative implications science fiction often associates with the integration of living things and inorganic materials/machinery.
On a separate note, I thought that it was particularly interesting that the characters descend to the basement of the building under construction before they rip apart their armor. This seems to follow a literary pattern where characters must literally descend below the earth’s surface to experience a rebirth. Also, it is not until after Bandit has been injured, and his leg exposed that he comes to realize that the armor is “not ‘Bandit’”. Why is this? If the animals have undergone such genetic enhancements, both in the physical sense and in regard to their cognitive abilities, why does it take Bandit’s leg being exposed for him to understand the malevolent nature of the armor that imprisons him? (It is also the armor that allows him to achieve his freedom, so perhaps a complete rejection of the armor is not justified…?…so the implications of the aforementioned integration are more ambiguous than they seem).