DMZ: Friendly Fire

dmz I was not into comics growing up. I mean, the Luann in the Sunday color section, but beyond that, not really.

For this reason, among many others, I was surprised to be handed a copy of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi in a “Modern Islam” course in college. Graphic novels had just started to emerge into the mainstream, and for me, that book was a turning point.

The vivid imagery, art and story sacrificed nothing by being completely illustrated – in fact, it was enhanced.

Shortly after that course I discovered one of my favorite books of all time, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, that also happens to be a graphic novel. And since dating P, who is an avid reader of the form, I continue to be exposed to new, exciting works of this genre.

DMZ is an unforgiving, realistic, detailed account of a potential future of the US – another Civil War.

In this dystopian future, Manhattan becomes the border (“DMZ”) between the “Free States” and the “US/Liberty Media” (Yes, we finally merge with big media).

In the particular issue I read this week, our hero (loosely defined) is asked to report on the massacre of hundreds of peace protesters, as one of the soldiers is countering the official narrative: that one member of the peace march had a gun.

The drawings are vivid, at times disgusting, and eerily accurate. Massacres, unfortunately, are not uncommon in civil wars, and this issue of DMZ perfectly explores our human capacity for hate, revenge, and attempts at truth against the greatest of odds.

What I’ve most appreciated about this series thus far is its unflinching commitment to looking war, violence and the worst of ourselves directly in the face. Yes, it’s fiction; yes, it is written for entertainment; but none of those factors undercut the efficacy of the story – and its lessons for our current wars.

DMZ_-1_page01_panel01

Are they right? Is the warrior culture created by the United States government to blame?

Is sending roving packs of young soldiers out into a civilian area with shitty training and no intel and expecting results a defensible act?

Is it intentional?

Or is this war just so fucked up that no one has a handle on what they’re doing anymore?

***

Dispatch this week to Sarah and Kyle!

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