5.12.10 Reviews (Part 2)

Daytripper #6 (DC/Vertigo): It’s no undiscovered secret that Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba are terrific artists, but what really struck me this time was the degree of versatility in their artistry. Whether it’s a dank truck stop illuminated by the dim glow of exterior parking lot lights, or the vibrant airy crisp refreshing limitless feel of an airport on the very next page, one begins to comprehend their phenomenal range as visual storytellers. Of course, the entire effort is invigorated enthusiastically by colorist Dave Stewart, really turning in the work of his career here. He’s got an immaculate control of color hue, understanding intuitively how to pair color tone to story theme. His colors are earthy and warm when they’re needed to reflect the somber mood of the story, and alternately pop with striations of bright color when that sharp clang of visual emotion is necessary for the script. Moon and Ba play with the collective consciousness’ post-9/11 paranoia, and underscore the overlooked importance that obituaries play in the process of psychological closure. It’s smart of them to personalize the tragedy for Bras by introducing the possible impact to his friend Jorge. That personal connection tempers his writing with so much more humanity, even for people he doesn’t know. This near death experience functions as a wake up call to make every day count, and that idea serves as a primer for the entire series. It’s almost as if Moon, Ba, and Stewart are reminding us with this powerful treatise on the old idiom, that no matter what direction your life takes, it’s about the journey and not the destination. You have to appreciate the journey of your life, the moments along the way, because in the end, everyone’s final destination is all too similar – you die. It’s serendipitous to me that Karen Berger’s essay about the passing of industry veteran Dick Giordano bolsters this notion of living life in the moment. While Giordano’s professional innovations are impressive and certainly noteworthy to the industry community, Berger remembers the character of the man and what he meant to her personally more than any would-be bullet point on his resume. In order for life to be about a person’s fullest potential, it must center on the warm personal relationships that linger on in memory, not the cold material accomplishments that fade with time. Grade A.

DMZ #53 (DC/Vertigo): Part 3 of the M.I.A. arc is a quick read, but it certainly furthers the spiraling emotional journey of series protagonist Matty Roth. As more info is leaked out from Radio Free DMZ regarding the true nature of the recent nuclear detonation and those responsible, familial concerns are introduced, and Riccardo Burchielli’s figure design for Rose Delgado is really sleek and impressive. Brian Wood positions Matty here in a reflective state around who he’s been in the DMZ to various people, to handlers, to himself, to factions of the government, and to Parco, possibly realizing his true destiny for the first time. It’s not simply to counter the attempted portrayal of Parco Delgado as a terrorist, but to bear witness to the real story of the DMZ in the years he’s become an inhabitant. I really enjoyed the sort of religious overtones that seemed to seep in as Matty considers himself an official watcher and realizes he’s in a position to write a holistic account that’s sort of the “DMZ Gospel According to Matthew Roth.” Grade A-.


At 5:45 AM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

RE Daytripper:

Nicely put. Great wrap-up of a powerful issue. This installment makes me a little extra sad as it marks the beginning of the second half of the series. (Only a 10-issue mini-series, right?) It has certainly been a stand-out project of the year. I hope it gets some 2011 Eisners, as i don't think it's nominated for any this year. The team certainly deserves one (or a few).

Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Justin said...

Thanks, Ryan. Good point, it might be time for these creators and this series to be formally recognized for their achievement.


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