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In an interview with the BBC earlier this year, cartoonist Rutu Modan threw the pressures facing the still-nascent Israeli comics movement in sharp relief: “People expect me to make the Middle East situation clear in my comics, but it’s something I cannot do—-it’s too complicated.” Of course, the al-Aqsa intifada looms large in Modan’s graphic novel Exit Wounds, which details an encounter between a cab driver and a female soldier and their search to uncover information about the unidentified victim of a suicide bombing. Despite Modan’s reservations about acting as a mouthpiece, her somber meditation on death, numbing violence, and identity speaks volumes about the social fallout from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Modan’s artwork, a slightly more stylized take on Belgian master Hergé’s clean line approach in his Tintin series, is expressive and eye-popping throughout. When words fail—-or rather, when Modan resists igniting the narrative’s political spark—her depictions of cafes, graveyards, and street scenes create a vivid portrait of a culture that’s still alien in the eyes of the Western world. Modan discusses and signs copies of her work at 7:30 p.m. at the Washington District of Columbia’s Jewish Community Center, 1519 16th St. NW. $8. (202) 777-3250; in conjunction with the “Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival.” —-Nick Green