DMZ #68 (DC/Vertigo): [DMZ Countdown Clock™: 4 Issues Remaining] There’s a certain finality to the tone of this arc that I enjoy. There’s a confluence of charged language and arresting visual elements that makes this an emotionally satisfying start of a conclusion, suggesting that maybe all the strife was in aid of something, that something valuable will have been learned when it’s all said and done – the faintest glimmer of hope. As the media is quick to jump on tidy labels that explain complex problems in shorthand, Matty seems to be cautiously navigating the greater steps that come next to build the “New” New York. It’s almost as if the city itself is finally taking a long deep breath, in hopes of resuming some form of normalcy. Familiar smells are returning, and while it’s an inescapable truth that everyone has a different interest at play, I think the most important thing is that they have vested interests. Whether it’s the doctor, the thug, or the Wall Street financier, you might not agree with how they want to do it, but everyone is absolutely interested in rebuilding the city that never dies. Riccardo Burchielli’s pencils seem to be evolving still, even as the end of the series draws nearer. I think he’s lost some of the sketchier qualities that early issues displayed. The lines seem to be more confident, as if he’s been honing the look for the past few years, because, well, he has. It’s almost as if contributor Kristian Donaldson is subconsciously influencing his pencils a tad, with the more angular lines and proportions to the figures. That final image of Matty introspectively contemplating the future owes a lot to colorist Jeromy Cox. He fills it with these somber and soulful pastels that make you think of those old Maxfield Parrish paintings. When you really consider that image, you realize that it’s the first time in ages we’ve actually seen the sky and not some night time bombing raid illuminating the Manhattan sky. Grade A.
As always, don’t forget to join us at LIVE FROM THE DMZ. Volume 04: Friendly Fire was recently posted, and Volume 05: The Hidden War should be up at the end of this month, followed by a one-of-a-kind interview with colorist extraordinaire Jeromy Cox.