War comic reviews: DMZ (Vertigo)

DMZ is easily one of my favourite comics. It recently passed the watershed 50 issue mark, which is quite a remarkable feat for a Vertigo book.

Description (via Wikipedia):

The series is set in New York City, sometime in the near future and in the midst of a civil war that has turned the island of Manhattan into a demilitarized zone.

Stick with this one until at least volume 4 of the trade paperbacks, you won’t regret it. “Friendly Fire” is an incredible story that chronicles a military investigation into the events that led to a massacre of civilians on the infamous Day 204 of the new U.S. civil war. The ending is a bit predictable when you consider the main themes explored throughout the series, but it’s a riveting story all the same.

Below are a handful of reviews of the series from various sources. It was difficult to dig up negative comments, but I’ve posted what I could find for the sake of balance.

DMZ takes what could have been a trite notion — the idea of “bringing the war home” literally, by turning America into a war zone similar to those in Iraq or Afghanistan– and on the strength of a complex imagination, turns it into a comic book that needs no superheroics, because the heroism is performed by ordinary people you come to care about quickly.
Read more (via EW)

Vertigo’s DMZ is more than just a strangely clairvoyant series about our political times; it’s an odyssey away from a black and white world.  It’s an ongoing re-definition of what it means to have shades of gray – where nobody has your interest at heart and everyone is out to manipulate everyone else.
Read more (via Michael Stewart)

One of my favorite things about DMZ is the almost disgustingly dead-on realism of the series.  The humanist message that weaves its way through what seems at first like a straight-up political story really makes you sit back and think about your stance on just about everything.  It’s an entrancing story I’ve been hooked on since the beginning.
(via Fistfight at the Arthouse)

One of the wittiest installments of DMZ so far also plays with the way the Iraq war’s images have been packaged. “New York Times,” drawn by Wood himself, is a set of war-journalism vignettes laid out with the aesthetic of an urban listings and lifestyle magazine like Time Out. A guide to music venues offers tips on how to avoid snipers while standing in line; a “photo” spread lists its subjects’ names, ages, and militia affiliations.
Read more (Douglas Wolk, author of  Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, via Print)

Volume #1: On the Ground

[The] episodic, wandering observer story works up to a point in DMZ. It never completely got me, but it at least kept me reading what is obviously a well written and excellently drawn book. Unfortunately for me after 5 issues I felt it was really going somewhere and I was getting into the story and wanted to know where the story was heading next. Which was when the book ended.

. . . I finished DMZ with a feeling that I’d barely started. The five issues were enough to get me interested but not enough to get me hooked. At some point I may pick up the second volume, but it would have been a lot nicer to have had a thicker, more satisfying first volume.
Read more (via Forbidden Planet, 2007)

Volume #6: Blood in the Game

A story about the limits of democracy and the power of populism, about the role of the press and the bravery of the voter, “Blood in the Game” furthers the fantastic work that Wood has done thus far on his story set in an utterly plausible America at war with itself. This is the kind of storytelling I read comics for.
(Cory Doctorow, via Boing Boing)

Brian Wood has crafted a complex and unique tapestry with DMZ. The different characters and their relationship he has created are very interesting in themselves but the real focus in this comic book is the city itself and it’s political situation.

If you like politics, actions and drama, DMZ is definitely for you.
Read more (via Comic Book Bin, 2009)

Volume #7: War Powers

The latest installment of Brian Wood’s DMZ series continues to impress. The series as a whole deals with the personal side of war, focusing on those stuck in the demilitarized zone in between a speculatively fictional civil war in the united states in the near future. Wood excels at telling exceptionally human stories under exceptionally inhuman circumstances, and this volume is no exception to the high standards set by the previous six.
(Joshum Harpy on Good Reads)

Volume #8: Hearts and Minds

The majority of readers on Good Reads rated this volume a 4 or 5 out of 5. However a few weren’t so keen on it.

I don’t really like what he did with Matty’s character…at all. It feels forced and I’m not interested. I can appreciate making him less sympathetic (especially since everyone in DMZ is some shade of gray) but in my opinion it’s not done well at all. I’m not convinced that pissing everyone who has been friends with him off and going on regular murdering sprees just because he thinks Delgado is a really good guy is a realistic progression of the Matty we started with. A+ up until this point though.
(Smalworld on Good Reads)

DMZ, issue #51

DMZ #51

One of the many things that I appreciate about Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s DMZ is that it never seems to stay complacent, or even in one place for very long.

This is actually probably some of my favorite art from Burchielli, because the deserted streets and buildings of Washington Heights give him and colorist Jeromy Cox the chance to bring out their stark beauty and desolation.

Read more (via Read About Comics)

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1 Comment

Filed under Comic Reviews

One response to “War comic reviews: DMZ (Vertigo)

  1. Pingback: Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s DMZ inspires people | Comic Book Junkie

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