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Wow. What can I say about this book. Well let’s get the generalities out of the way first shall we.
DMZ is an American comic book series written by Brian Wood, with artwork by Wood and Riccardo Burchielli (the Italian artist’s first comic book in the United States). The series is set in the near future, where a second civil war has turned the island of Manhattan into a demilitarized zone, caught between forces of the United States of America and secessionist “Free States”. DMZ is published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. The first trade paperback, entitled On the Ground, reprints the first five issues of the series; so far ten trade paperbacks have been released.
The image above is a map of where the book takes place. Manhattan island has been turned into a Demilitarized Zone. The series main protagonist, Matty Roth, has managed to find himself caught behind the lines and forced to not only find a means to survive but to also report on everything he sees while there. The journey he finds himself on slowly turns from survival to self evolution as he is brought in closer with the citizens of Manhattan Island.
Now, I am not a fan of politics or conspiracy theories at all, and that’s not saying that DMZ is all about that, but this book manages to encompass the reader and bring them into the mind of Matty Roth and makes you start to worry about the future of this country. If DMZ were to happen in this universe in which we exist in, I have no doubt that the events depicted in this series will come to fruition. It scares me a bit when I think about. It also makes me wonder as to which side I would find myself on. It allows you to see not only the viewpoints of those in power but of those without. And if for any other reason than that, DMZ in itself, makes for an amazing view of a future that may indeed come to pass. This look into the alternate timeline of American history gives the reader an insightful perspective into the Government’s frame of mind as well as the body it governs over. I fear what would happen to us should a second Civil War were to happen. And DMZ gives me the perfect examples as to why.
The series itself is perfectly constructed in a way that allows the reader to take breaks while reading. It is separated into different sections and story arcs which at times provides a moment for one to “catch their breath”. Having been released in 2005, I found myself at times hating this book because I would need to read the previous issue in order to set myself into the mind frame to read the current issue. It was that deep. Once you begin reading you find yourself completely wrapped into the blanket of Brian Wood’s imagination and fear the cold that lives outside of it. Because of this I would wait for the arcs or storylines to be completed before reading it again. In time I had to put DMZ out of my mind completely so as not be upset at having to wait a whole month between issues. It wasn’t until a week ago that I heard that the series was ending. It was at that point that I began reading it again. Because of how detailed and engrossing of a story it is, I started at the beginning instead of where I had left off. I wanted to immerse myself into DMZ without any interruptions. And was able to do so without even having to try.
I don’t want to give to much away about what this series is about. I don’t want to take away from your experience with it. What I can say is this. This series will live forever in my top 5. It is a prime example of why the age of the superhero now has to share headlines with the independents. You will not find anyone in capes in this series. No one will be flying, popping claws, or finding all of their problems solved by reaching into a utility belt. That’s not to say there is no action in this book. No no no my friend. This book is laden with action and bullets flying everywhere. It’s just bound to a more realistic set of rules.
What’s really great about this series is that in-between the main storyline, you will find random issues focusing on some of the side characters. It provides a great look into what is happening in the meantime. One of my favorite of these “time-out” stories is issue #12. This issue comes across as more of a #0 issue in the form of a travellers guide or map of the city and it’s different factions. Another great thing about the series was the ending. A lot of great comics now a days, much like tv shows (ie., Firefly), get cancelled before they have a time to wrap up all of their story lines. Not DMZ. While it never had to fear being put on the chopping block, Brian Wood knew exactly how long he wanted the series to go for and made sure everything was addressed in a nice and orderly fashion without having that rushed feeling. It ended as perfectly and it had begun.
Have you got it yet? Do you understand what it is I am trying to say? I loved this series. It’s one of the few out there that brought a tear to my eye. Not only because of what happens within the book, but also because I had to admit to myself that it was over. Listening to Helpless and Stripsearch by Faith No More while reading the last issue probably didn’t help either. But regardless of that, Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli did a fantastic job with this series and I will be sad to see it go.
DMZ is published by Vertigo comics and runs 72 issues to include a prologue issue. The issues are collected into 12 trade paperbacks that are separated by story arc. Grab this series as soon as possible. You can find copies in our Amazon Store.
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