Nearly two months after a terrorist attack left 12 of its members dead, the editorial staff of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is slated to release a new issue of their edgy publication on February 25.
Resuming weekly publication after a more-than-month-long hiatus, the debut issue has been led by newly-installed editor Mr Laurent Sourisseau, a cartoonist who was wounded in the attack and who goes by the alias Riss.
The cover of the new issue, which circulated on social media days before the publication was set to hit newsstands, showed a horde of vicious and wild-looking dogs chasing a diminutive pup carrying an issue of Charlie Hebdo in its mouth.
The dogs in the background evoke Pope Francis, conservative politician Marine Le Pen [as a pit bull], former French president Nicolas Sarkozy [as a poodle] and a Muslim jihadist toting a Kalashnikov.
It also makes reference to greed, stock markets, a French anti-gay movement and BFM-TV, the news channel whose practices during the attacks have earned rebuke for breaching journalistic ethics.
"Here we go again!" reads the cover inscription. The cartoon is rendered in black and white against a poppy red background and signed by Luz, another of the magazine's cartoonists.
Except for the so-called “survivor's issue” of Charlie Hebdo - released a week after the January 7 shooting at the magazine's offices and featuring a cartoon of a weeping Mohammed on the cover - the publication is the first since the attacks and hails a return to normal operations.
The publisher has set the print run of the magazine at 2.5 million copies, according to a report in Liberation, the newspaper that has shared its offices with the surviving Charlie Hebdo members since January. While the number is significantly below the 7 million copies issued for the post-attack issue, it represents a drastic rise over the pre-attack runs of between 30,000 and 60,000 copies.
The survivor's issue sparked protests across many parts of the Muslim world, as some religious adherents decried the illustration of Mohammed on the cover. Charlie Hebdo had previously garnered criticism for similar moves in the past, which prompted extremist militant groups to place it on hit lists.
The attack at the magazine's headquarters has aggravated tensions across Europe. Earlier this month, a gunman believed to have been inspired by the Charlie Hebdo shooting targeted an event in Copenhagen that was hosting Swedish artist and cartoonist Lars Vilks. Multiple newspapers, publications and newsstands reprinting or selling Charlie Hebdo cartoons have also been threatened.