Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Name: Zee Hernandez.
Creator: Brian Woods.
Occupations: Medical Student/Survivor.
Quotes: “What if it is just one of those terrible things that happens during a war?”
When I bought the first issue of Brian Wood’s DMZ I was not impressed. For some reason that I can’t understand now, I thought it was to close to Escape from New York. I also thought that it had way too many F-Words. So I placed it a Mylar bag and put it in my white comic book box and went off my merry way. A few years latter my local book store was going out of business and had a forty percent off sale on graphic novels so I deiced I give the second graphic novel The Body of a Journalist a try. This time I was hooked.
The plot for DMZ, is that a secessionist movement called The Free States and the federal government, fought major battle in NYC, in a mini-armistice both sides pulled out leaving the citizenry of New York on their own. When news intern Matty Roth’s helicopter is shot down in the DMZ, he is force to survive as he documents what’s happening in an abandoned New York.
His (and the readers) guide to post apocalyptic New York is Zee Hernandez. A former med student who is the closest thing that most of the simi-abandoned city’s citizens come to seeing a doctor. She is half streetwise punk rocker, and half angle of mercy. Her strength comes from both her medical training but also the fact that she always put the people in the war above the war.
Zee’s compassion and humanity doesn’t just go out to those who she sees as the innocent victims, of this brutal war. She risks her life to save a wounded mercenary, who works for Trustwell a private military contractor who has killed New York residents. Despite what this company has done, Zee sees this wounded woman as a human when so many others would see her just as an enemy.
Matty is eventually seduced by the chance of obtaining a slice of the power that he sees around him. He thinks that he can make the world better with that power, but he is oblivious how it corrupts him, despite Zee’s many warnings. Eventually he makes a mistake and inevitably he gives an order that leads to the massacre of innocent civilians.
Zee ‘s moral compass however never falters. She never forgets that power and the lust of power is what started the whole mess in the first place. Also she realizes that the most good is at done at the ground level. She is able to stay true to herself and her beliefs because she spends her life saving and helping others. This makes her both morally strong and beloved by those she helps. Some open even paints a big Zee NYC on a water tower as a sign of gratitude.
I listen to both sides of the political spectrum, and I hear how they fight and won’t compromise, and I hear vague whispers of session rather than follow a law they disagree with. I see what the US is doing in other countries and wonder if that it could ever happen here. I realize that a DMZ type scenario is frighteningly possible. And if it ever does happen here in the states, I hope that there is real life Zee Hernandez’s, and for that reason alone, she deserves to be a woman of comic books who is more than skin deep.