Jennifer's Reviews > DMZ, Vol. 5: The Hidden War

DMZ, Vol. 5 by Brian Wood
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Aug 17, 2009

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Read in August, 2009

** spoiler alert ** This volume was really hit-or-miss. A collection of one-shots spotlighting different people living in the DMZ, this should have been a nice break from Matty's sometimes frustrating narration, and for the most part it was. The stories about Wilson, Amina, and Random Fire were all great, and the story about graffiti artist Decade Later was just stunning. However, the story about the defecting soldier, Soames, was confusingly rendered, making it hard to discern its point.

And then there was the story about Matty's girlfriend, Kelly. Brian Wood has a really good track record with gender issues, so I don't want to be too hard on him, but this was a major disappointment. Unlike the other issues, this wasn't from Kelly's point of view; instead, it was Matty reflecting on Kelly... after her death. So, essentially, Wood killed off "the girlfriend" randomly, and then used her death as an excuse to make his male protagonist emo and tell us about her secondhand from his limited point of view. In a volume of stories ABOUT their subjects, this issue stuck out like a sore thumb. I, for one, would have loved to get a look into the head of a woman who would choose to be a war reporter in this awful place -- but that isn't what we got, and, since she's dead, I doubt we ever will. For that alone, I can't give this volume more than three stars.
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Andy Vale I felt similar about Kelly. Seeing her dead really struck me, and the lack of depth that that story added to her was frustrating. We learned she doubted herself and questioned her worth, but it was pretty shallow. I know there's probably some cop-out answer as to why it was so unsatisfying from a narrative POV, but I'd come to expect more.

Hopefully there will be more on her, I think she had a lot more potential. Both as a character in her own right and a dimension she adds to Matty's overall story.


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