11.23.11 Reviews (DC/Vertigo Edition)

DMZ #71 (DC/Vertigo): [DMZ Countdown Clock™: 1 Issue Remaining] <- If that “1” there doesn’t sound a bunch of klaxons off in your head, then I don’t know what else would. It’s all come down to this issue. The arc of Matty’s character has taken him from being a sheltered boy who wasn’t aware of who he was, to a man who ultimately finds his identity even though it takes him to a dark place where he has to deal with the consequences of his decisions, as all good men do. You can lament the fact that the military tribunal needs another fall guy (the specter of Parco Delgado wasn’t enough), and you can cry out over how they distort events and facts to support their own cause. They range from the Indian Point nuke (which is an outright lie), to Matty stealing some Liberty News gear (which exists somewhere in the gray between fact and fiction), to him being responsible for issuing that damn sloppy order that got a wedding party killed (which is, unfortunately, absolutely sound). The label “war criminal” might seem like a strong one for someone as usually well–intentioned as Matty, but you know how it inescapably goes. The victors always write the history books, and someone had to pay the price of accountability. Someone had to pay that price for Matty’s identity quest, for his journey to ring true intellectually. If he learned anything, it’s that you own your actions, you own your responses to situations, even if the situations themselves were shitty to begin with. Most people like to conveniently view the world in black and white terms, but it seldom is. Those same people either expected some silly idyllic scene where Matty and Zee move upstate to start a family, or a denouement which was Matty just getting killed and not making it out alive. True, there’s one issue left that could prove me wrong, but I’d bet the reality is somewhere in the middle and, as is, is a much harder pill to swallow when it’s so deep in the gray. Riccardo Burchielli rises to the challenge laid out before him, thanks in part to Jeromy Cox’s mustard colored flashbacks as Matty’s life in the DMZ flashes before him, sometimes it’s in sync with what the court says, and sometimes it’s a contrarian recollection. It’s always beautiful, exciting, and regretful, the complex web of emotions that Matty’s 6 years in the DMZ were, not coincidentally, the same 6 years we lived with the series as readers. Long before The Occupy Movement, long before the extension of our protracted desert campaigns in the Middle East, long before the political disenfranchisement surrounding our election cycle, you saw it all here first from the mind of Brian Wood. Grade A+.

Note: As usual, join us for more in depth coverage of the series at LIVE FROM THE DMZ.

Scalped #54 (DC/Vertigo): This issue opens with a visceral shootout, and moves on quickly to address the amount of redemption possible for characters like Nitz, Karnow, Catcher, Wade, Dino Poor Bear, and Shunka in relation to all their many past transgressions. As Hooper X would say, yup, “the chickens are comin’ home to roost, y’all.” Everyone seems to be on a path to get their due as Shunka and Dash continue to vy for the top spot in Lincoln Red Crow’s organization using nothing but lies and deceit. It’s full of action, intrigue, dead bodies galore, and some kind of twisted Michael & Fredo Corleone in Cube style moment. I think there’s a small mistake on the last page, since this is part 4 of 5, but the last text box reads “concluded” even though it looks far from, especially considering that last page shot. Something I’m sure they’ll fix up in the trade. As rousing and intricately plotted as always. Grade A.


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