Michael's Reviews > DMZ, Vol. 3: Public Works

DMZ, Vol. 3 by Brian Wood
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Jun 23, 08

bookshelves: comics
Read in June, 2008

This was definitely not quite a well-written as the previous two volumes of DMZ. Wood tackles the prevalance of corporate contractors in a war zone - specifically Trustwell Industries in Manhattan. Now, this is certainly a timely, pertinent subject for any exploration of war in the present, or the near future, as we've seen an enormous growth and exposure of the military-industrial complex. It's an important question to ask, which Wood does - who's running the war, the government who sponsors it, or the contractors, the private companies who actually carry it out. This is a question we should all be asking ourselves, as our government sponsors an unpopular war(and we, the people, sponsor our government, you know) that is carried out largely by companies like Blackwater.

All that said, Wood does not deal with the subject very well. His exploration of this phenomenon of privatized soldiers is far too broad, far too generalized and bland and obliquely procedural. He shows the reader the horrible situation on the ground in Manhattan in only a few specific instances that don't really get at the horror and the brutality that Trustwell is apparently inflicting on the city. Otherwise, we get the story from a number of news reports that serve as counterpoint narration to other scenes - scenes of Matty figuring things out, hooking up with devastating beautiful and busty women, and in general playing the part of the heartless journalist. Matty doesn't care about the violence until it might come down on his friends. He's no hero. He might be a reflection of us, the citizens of the US, in all our lazy, groping glory, slithering around in the muck that we've created.

The president of Trustwell, a top general in the US military, and the head of the UN Security Council hold a press conference outside of the bombed out shell of the UN building on the East Side. The dialogue here is extremely wooden and these characters are so wooden and obvious. The particular scene really distracts from the story, and I don't think any of the military corporations, like Trustwell, are (or would ever be) so visible as this.

The grit and the violence are still there, but the great storytelling, the reality, is starting to fade from this series.

Burchielli's art is still great, and I think I'm even warming to it more as the series goes on. The most menacing detail of this comic with an abundance of detail are the little shady, shaky triangles hovering far above the city in every exterior scene - bombers above, droning and lurking.
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