Sam Quixote's Reviews > DMZ, Vol. 1: On the Ground

DMZ, Vol. 1 by Brian Wood
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Sep 18, 11

Read in September, 2011

America goes through another civil war and the line is drawn on the Eastern seaboard, the de-militarised zone is the island of Manhattan. Matty Roth, an intern for a popular news outlet, is sent to the DMZ to assist the seasoned reporters collect stories but his group are ambushed and he finds himself the sole survivor. He decides to stay and do what he can in documenting the lives of the surviving peoples on Manhattan. Welcome to DMZ.

I think Vertigo put out the best comics series out there and have a long line of successful books to point to but I'm afraid DMZ isn't one of them. The "war is hell" theme is done to death and Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's sanctimonious way of telling this story with a "this sh*t needs to be told!" tone is way off the mark. There are comics out there by the likes of Joe Sacco which covers actual real life conflicts and are far more worthy of your time than this poorly conceived series.

The framing device of the everyman stuck in a dystopian Manhattan in an unlikely conflict is a weak one as Wood tries to fit his dull storylines of warring factions into this setup and, frankly, the storylines aren't great. A group of survivors maintaining a zoo, a scumbag who steals Roth's press pass, soldiers killing innocent civilians - I'm sorry but the dystopian future angle is really overworked these days.

The whole series feels like a 2000AD/Warhammer (remember "Necromunda"?) throwback that doesn't provide an interesting enough storyline nor original characters or situations that haven't been done better elsewhere. Overall I found it a book trying far too hard to be cool and hipster-ish, and way too preachy on the subject of anti-war. Ok I get it, I'm not pro-war either, but this comic is going to have zero effect on peoples' attitudes.

A dull book with some good artwork, this is one series I'm stopping at after the first book. Brian Wood's done better work elsewhere with his other Vertigo series "Northlanders" which I highly recommend.
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