12.28.2011

12.28.11 Reviews

DMZ #72 (DC/Vertigo): [DMZ Countdown Clock™: 0 Issues Remaining] As much as I’ve written about DMZ, I really don’t know where to start. It all feels a bit surreal, and a lot of thoughts flood into my brain and intertwine. The issue itself is an emotionally satisfying flash forward 15 years, with the war in the past. We take an everywoman tour through the city, which calls to mind the all Brian Wood issue, #12, or even Megan in Local to some degree. Riccardo gets to draw the city shiny and gleaming for once, teeming with life, and it’s such a peacefully jarring transition. Through the words in Matty’s book, we learn that he’s largely accepted his personal outcome, but essentially asks people to remember what occurred, to love NYC, including its turbulent past, because when you forget, well, that’s when the old adage comes in about those not knowing history being doomed to repeat it. For a book that was dirty and gritty and complex morally, bordering on apocalyptic at times, it’s a bit of refreshing sunshine to see Wood end the book with such hopeful optimism. If the real main character of the series was always New York, the city itself, then the creative team just ended a 6 year love letter to NYC. So much of what Brian writes in the end piece rings true for me as well. It’s amazing how much life can change in the space of 6 years, with DMZ having run as a constant in the background. When the first issue of DMZ shipped, I was still living in the San Francisco Bay Area too, still worked at Cisco and not at MCA San Diego like I do now, I was *just* starting this blog, I’ve since bought and sold houses, had two kids, and hit a lot of those life benchmarks Brian talks about. DMZ was always there, and now it won’t be. This book allowed me to meet cool people like Brian, like Jeromy Cox, Nathan Fox, correspond with Will Dennis, Kristian Donaldson, John Paul Leon, and even my paisan Riccardo Burchielli. But, like Matty, we grow up, we internalize those experiences, and just move forward. I’m looking forward to everything that comes from this creator from this point forward. For me, Brian’s in superstar territory now, whatever that means, having helmed one of the longest running Vertigo books in history. Congratulations to everyone involved! I’m also happy to say that DMZ won’t be “over” for me for a few months still. Please visit us at LIVE FROM THE DMZ, where we’ll be continuing our coverage, volume by volume, all the way until Volume 12: The Five Nations of New York ships in the front half of 2012. Grade A+.

Secret Avengers #20 (Marvel): I knew I was going to dig the covert sci-fi vibe of this book as soon as I saw the cover. It's John Cassaday, by way of Steranko, with Warren Ellis and Alex Maleev delivering the contents. The book is just go-go-go and I dug it all the way. The title page is slick as hell, we start en media res with a frantic action opener, we jump back 5 years, then skip all up and down a timeline as Black Widow tries to prevent a bad mission that killed Steve Rogers, James Rhodes, and Sharon Carter. The murky art suits the moral ambiguity of the tale. The period sequence looks like some delicious lost strip, with period-style sound effects, exposition, and general newspaper aesthetic. Doctor Druid, Daimon Hellstrom, and "magic irradiation" reminds me of Warren Ellis' early Marvel work. At the end of it all, the story is a closed loop that tries its hardest to avoid the time travel paradox, it's quite entertaining, and a reminder that good spy work is something that nobody ever knows about, nearly averting total disaster in total secret. Grade A.

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