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

DMZ, Vol. 1 by Brian Wood
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's review
May 14, 09

bookshelves: post-apocalyptic, comics
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: think galactic group
Recommended for: fans of Transmet
Read in May, 2009

America is gripped by a vicious civil war between the United States and the Free States. NYC is caught in the middle, a perilous no-man's-land filled with ordinary citizens turned desperate survivors. Little information gets in or out of Manhattan (or the DMZ, as it's known), so a Pulitzer-winning journalist and his entourage set out to be the first. But they are shot down just as they enter the DMZ, and only the journalist's oblivious young photographer survives. Zee, the local medic, takes Matty Roth under her wing for a few days and shows him around. Eventually, he becomes interested in life in the DMZ (and disenchanted by the US actions there), so he decides to stay and document what he can.

By and large, the art is merely servicable. A full trade in, the characters have very little personality. The dialog sounds clunky, cliched and impersonal. The city doesn't quite make sense. Years after being cut off from the outside, how are they still eating? Zee makes an off-hand comment about growing their own food (which inspired me on a long research tangent about making my own tofu--thanks, DMZ!), but I really doubt they have enough seeds and soil to feed an entire city. There are still noodle carts--where are they getting their noodles? Do they grow their own wheat? Where? Matty gets a certain amount of notoriety for being the only official member of the press in the DMZ, but we never see him parlay it, or barter it, for necessities. How is he paying for food and toilet paper? Does the DMZ recognize US money? How bout Free States money? How bout bank cards? Just how cut off *are* they? Did all the rich people skedaddle, or were they killed, or do they run medieval fiefdoms now? Given that "DMZ" is not really about the characters, I expected it to be about the city--but most of the city is completely unexplained or explored. I don't think Wood actually considered what life in this city would be like--his take is a very superficial one, and it's frustrating!

I don't feel like I wasted my lunch break on this, but if I'm not assured it gets significantly better, I wouldn't waste my time on another issue.
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