DMZ HBO Max Series Comic Book Adaptation Gets Limited-Series Order
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Ava DuVernay’s DMZ Comic Book Adaptation For HBO Max Gets Limited-Series Order

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BY April 25, 2022

Despite living in a real-life pandemic, it doesn’t seem like the desolate and hopeless setting for fictional content will ever go away. So when a comic book like DMZ is getting a series order at HBO Max, I kind of question why? But then I quickly dismiss those doubts hearing who’s involved on both sides of the camera. The DMZ HBO Max series comes from acclaimed storyteller Ava DuVernay and will star Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt in the lead roles. The adaptation just got a limited series order at HBO Max and will begin production sometime next year. 

The DMZ Comic Book Series Is Terrifyingly Relevant To The Modern Day

DMZ HBO Max series comic. Image via Vertigo.

The source material of the new HBO Max series is DMZ, a Vertigo comic book series written by Bryan Wood with art by Riccardo Bruchielli. The series explores the state of the United States of America ravished after a civil war between its citizens tears the country apart. The term DMZ refers to ‘Demilitarized Zone’, an agreed-upon middle ground during a war where neither side has any jurisdiction nor can they conduct military operations. Or at least, that’s the intended use anyway. In the comic book series, the bustling island of Manhattan is a DMZ due to the new civil war. 

The story in the comic book begins five years after the outbreak of the war, following a reporter and his experiences around the DMZ, and its surrounding areas. The war begins when a certain section of the population, known as the Free States of America, want to secede from the United States of America, forming their own government, and eventually clashing with the existing government. This difference in ideology between the two sides sparks during one incident that saw the USA side gun down 200 protestors accidentally. Sparking the revolution that allowed the FSA to rise and incite a war. It’s eerily terrifying how many parallels this story has to real-world events from just a few months ago. 

DMZ HBO Max Series Begins A Little Differently Than The Comics

DMZ HBO Max series bridge. Image via Vertigo.

The new Deadline report confirms that HBO Max gave the DMZ adaptation a limited series order with four total episodes. So far. While still set in Manhattan, the story of the series will show things a little bit differently from the comic book series. The new series will follow a medic instead of a reporter, but one who is searching for someone she lost during the civil war. Part of the official synopsis is below. 

In the near future, America is embroiled in a bitter civil war, leaving Manhattan a demilitarized zone (DMZ), destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. Leaping off the pages of the popular comic, “DMZ” chronicles the harrowing journey of fearless and fierce medic Alma Ortega (series star Rosario Dawson), who sets out on a harrowing journey to find the son she lost in the evacuation of New York City at the onset of the conflict. 

Having the main character who is on a mission to find a loved one, immediately provides more of an emotional hook to the story than a reporter simply witnessing things. So I’m pretty sold on that initial tweak to the source material already. What other changes may happen in the source material to make the show more relevant to today, is still unknown. But it wouldn’t be surprising if some version of current events made their way into the series’ story. Especially when considering that the creator’s inspiration for DMZ was the events of 9/11. So weaving in real world parallels would be completely on brand.

The Cast and Makers Of DMZ HBO Max Series Make It One To Watch For

Ava DuVernay Image by Stephanie Moreno via Flickr.

Joining Rosario Dawson on screen is none other than Benjamin Bratt as the leader of a gang in the DMZ, with aspirations of world domination. I can totally see Bratt as a version of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan character from The Walking Dead; intimidating, abrasive and totally having fun in the role of a villain. So Dawson’s lead has to maneuver around all these obstacles, and other plot threads throughout, to find her son. It’s a thrilling premise that I can get behind. The inclusion of Dawson and Bratt on screen is definitely one that should get fans excited for the show. Especially if they’re going up against one another. 

The DMZ HBO Max series is also coming from producer Ava DuVernay, who directed the pilot episode of the limited-series. The showrunner, writer, and producer is Robert Patino whose credits include Westworld and Sons of Anarchy, elements of both shows I can see become part of his vision of the DMZ HBO Max series.

DMZ begins production in 2021. No word on its release on HBO Max. 

So are you excited for a new comic book adaptation on HBO Max? Let us know in the comments below. 

Featured image via Vertigo.


Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at or on Twitter @theshahshahid.


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