Sunday, March 21, 2010

DMZ Vol. 1 On the Ground Review

DMZ Vol. 1 - On the Ground
DC Comics - Vertigo
Softcover Trade Paperback
128 pages
ISBN: 9781401210625

Contributors: Brian Wood, Riccardo Burchielli, Jeromy Cox, Jared Fletcher, and introduction by Brian Azzarello.

Reprints: DMZ #1-5

Synopsis: In the near future America is being torn apart by its second civil war.  Manhattan Island has become a war zone with the United States on one side and the Free States on the other.  Commonly known as the DMZ (short for demilitarized zone) it's the most dangerous place to live in the nation.  A press expedition is launched by Liberty News to document the largely unknown conditions within the city.  Viktor Ferguson is the famous journalist leading the group with phototech intern Matty Roth attached.

Their initial landing into the DMZ goes disastrously wrong with their helicopter shot down and Matty left to fend for himself.  He quickly meets Zee, a local insurgent (aka resident) and former med student who runs a free clinic and she introduces him to the diverse, prolific culture still remaining on the island despite the sometimes horrific conditions. 

Pros: Gritty art, Wood knows NYC and his thorough research shines through, surprisingly compelling

Cons: Some characters/situations feel overly contrived

Mike Tells It Straight: Wood put a lot of thought into this story and despite the far-fetched premise it's very captivating.  In this first volume he keeps the explanations to a minimum and instead hooks you with the fast-paced action as Matty is stranded in the DMZ.  It's the little details the creators add which really make this book.  For example, Matty ducks behind a dumpster to wait out sniper fire and looks over at a dead dog with its guts exploded out by maggots.  Gritty realism (or maybe chewy).

TO BUY and Recommendations: