6.22.11 Review

DMZ #66 (DC/Vertigo): [DMZ Countdown Clock™: 6 Issues Remaining] If you subscribe to the theory that the character of Zee is a physical manifestation of New York itself, then this issue speaks volumes about the resilience of the city. There’s something bittersweet about acknowledging this is the last one-shot issue, and next issue will begin the final arc of the series, but oh, does this deliver emotionally. Visually, Riccardo Burchielli changes up his art style in the first few pages to mimic some of the artists who’ve worked on Zee and Martel at various moments in the series. The aesthetic is full of softer edges and thicker line weights, in the style of say, Kristian Donaldson or Andrea Mutti. From Zee’s flashbacks of the nuke, to her first meeting with Matty, the Parco entanglement, and eventually the sloppy order he gave to Angel (which is still heartbreaking to re-live even for a panel or two), this issue is like a time capsule of time lapse imagery chronicling the whole series in brief snippets. One of the provoking questions Brian Wood asks is regarding what an outsider with power means to the natives like zee. Her momentary thoughts of fleeing are ultimately countered by loyalty and the faint whisper of her own intuition. Zee’s bookshelf is a particularly inspired image; we can practically see the entire DMZ saga reflected in Matty’s journals and data back-ups. There’s The Ghosts of Central Park, Trustwell, Parco, the Day 204 Massacre, and Burchielli even works in little nods to himself, with his “Ricxx” tag scrawled in graffiti on the library or on Matty’s notebooks. One of the best things you can say about Zee’s arc is that it’s emotionally honest. It’s clear that she regrets she was right about Matty choosing Parco over her – his big fall as he decided to “start carrying a gun and being Mr. Tough Guy”- yet we still know that she probably loves him by the way she refers to him, without Wood ever having to spell it out for us, that lovable “dork” with “potential.” By the end, we know in our heart that Martel is flat out wrong. The city is not dead. Zee is the city. She’s there. Which means it’ll always bounce back, no matter what it may endure. This is a flawless slice of what DMZ is as a work of political fiction and what it means to Brian Wood and New York City out here in the real world. Grade A+. Please join us for more at LIVE FROM THE DMZ.


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