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DMZ


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DMZvertigodc3.jpeg

 

Brian Wood (Demo, Local, Channel Zero) & artist Riccardo Burchelli are about 4 issues into a new Vertigo series, and I'm impressed - ive enjoyed Wood's writing style on both Demo and the one issue ive read so far of Local and Supermarket, but this one's standing above all that.

 

It takes a really interesting look at the war on terror, only its a few years into the future, and America's knee-deep in another civil war: specifically, Jersey & the coastline have seceded from the Union, while the boroughs remain within the United States of America - leaving the island of Manhattan a warzone inbetween the two, with a small, dying population that looks much more like Stalingrad than New York.

 

Matty's an intern cameraman whose sent in on an ambitous project to report on the urban war zone, but is quickly left as the crew's only survivor. He decides to remain on the island, however hellish, and tell the story of its people. This book is about that story, and what's become of America.

 

DMZ_page1.jpg

 

Wood's knocking these things out the park lately, and doing some great covers here as well. Im unfamiliar with Burchelli's previous works, but i like his art here - its gritty when it needs to be, and works for the actoin/war scenes as well, i think.

 

Newsarama has a great interview & interior art page here.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cool - lemme knwo what you think, its Vertigo so you cant go wrong. Last issue was a cool stand-alone one about Matty's press pass and jacket being stolen, and those things all but keep him alive when roaming the more dangerous neighborhoods, so its a chase scene through sniper territory to get his gear back.

 

Man, i wasnt kidding in my pick of Wood for writer of the year - im not yet done with Channel Zero, but between that, this book, and a few others im gonna lump in here, im staning by him.

 

Local is a bit like Demo (and ive posted a review over there too), a series of seemingly random stories tied together by one character who's in the background of the last few. The first, "A thousand thoughts per second" read lilke watching Run Lola Run, which of course was pretty cool. I missed # 2, sadly, but # 3 was a great one about what happens after a band breaks up, and im sitting in front of # 4. The band one, though...its like im 20 pages in before i remember it's an indie book. Mind you, all dialogue, no big superhero battles, but it reads so natural to me that the pretentiousness many books in this vein give off constantly remind me of what they are, and from the first panel - a view of Chicago from an airplane passenger seat - its just a story, and a great one at that, because the characters are fleshed out so well inside of 28 pages that im left impressed and anxiouis for the next issue that has nothing to do with this one, really, just solid writing with good art.

 

Supermarket, however, is very much different - This Oni title's about a rich, sometwhat self-loathing, liberal japanese girl who comes home to find her parents murdered and is on the run from the Yakuza since then. Finding out her parents were reformed crimelords, Suzuki is left on the run with no money, just insticnts and unlikely allies. I woudlntve thought this guy could write an action book, but he's 2 issues in and im very much interested.

 

This guy is the goods. I'm picking up anything with his name on it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Z-Cult - read the first six issues free

 

Journalists are getting killed, citizens are living under warfare and factions are arming themselves against each other. This is New York City.

 

Brian Wood is the creator of renowned independent works like Channel Zero and Demo but his new series with artist Riccardo Burchielli is for Vertigo/DC, not that that has made him any softer. DMZ takes place in a New York City sometime in the future. The 2004 election might have made people think of a divide between red and blue states but here we have the Free States, which start on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, versus the United States, on what still remains of the coasts. Manhattan Island is the eponymous Demilitarized Zone. Graffiti is seen early on declaring that "every day is 9/11!"

 

Wood may have recent real-life events in mind, but he isn't interested in writing a diatribe in comic book form. "The politics in DMZ are not the main focus," Wood says. "This is a book more about the people living in a war zone, and the surrounding politics just serve to highlight their disenfranchisement. The parallels to current events are obvious and completely intentional, but this isn't a project that's out to make a bold statement or to hammer home a message."

 

War is always in the newspapers all over the world, but we rarely hear about the faceless citizen's day-to-day life under helicopters and alongside soldiers. DMZ's main character is Matthew Roth, a photo tech intern who only got the job because his father knows the right people. His plans to work for television station Liberty 5—whose slogan is "News for America and Americans!"—are destroyed in the violence in the DMZ. Now he lives with the haggard people of Manhattan and sees an ignored but important side to warfare. "The locations can change, but the human experience doesn't," is how Wood sees it. "If one were to walk away from this book with any sort of general 'message,' it would be a strongly antiwar message, and I suspect that most people out there in the world are antiwar," he says.

 

DMZ eradicates any distance Americans might see between themselves and those living in Iraq or Afghanistan right now. It is a comic book that reflects the anxieties of many living in the world today, and continues the kind of mature storytelling Vertigo/DC thrives on.

 

The book might be seen as controversial, something Vertigo/DC, a division of Time Warner Communications, might not want to touch. That hasn't been Wood's experience. "My editors and the chiefs at DC/Vertigo have been nothing but supportive of the book," Wood says. "They're really eager, really interested, very hands-on, but in a good way. The politics don't seem to worry anyone."

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 years later...

From Wikipedia:

 

The setting is New York City in the near future. A civil war is taking place between the United States of America and the Free States. The Free States are described in the first issue as being "New Jersey and inland"; in issue #8, it is revealed that "the Free States are an idea, not a geographical entity";[3] the movement began in Montana and made its way east. The Free Armies and the U.S. military met at Allentown, Pennsylvania where the Free Armies won, after which the Free Armies descended on New York; the exact chain of events from hereon has yet to be revealed. Manhattan is the location of the demilitarized zone between the two warring parties. In an interview, Brian Wood described the back-history as the citizens of Middle America having risen up against the pre-emptive war policies of the US government, causing a Second American Civil War.[1]

 

This series is awesome. Only caught it around issue 34 but caught up with the help of Demonoid. Still deliberating on whether to keep reading it in single issue or just hold out for the trades. I reckon its the kind of book that reads better in trade form. As soon as I find myself a steady job i'll grab the previous 5 trades.

 

So anybody else following the adventures of Matty Roth, the contemporary frat-boy equivalent of Spider Jerusalem?

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See, I read the first trade and it reeked of style over content, then hearing you describe the over-stylised-straight-off-a-graphitti'd-wall-in-Greenwich-Village main character as a frat boy version of Spider? Ecch

 

The passing interest I have in this book is 1) me being on the rebound as 100 Bullets is about to end and I need a vertigo title to buy monthly and 2) the physical landscape/political structure(which is weird for me, right?). All the damned characters I've met in the first trade read like these impossibly 'solid phat' 2-dimensional fucks that Brian Wood clearly wishes he had in real life. Kirkman does the same thing in Invincible(admittedly to a less P-H-phat extent- his are all just naive 2-dimensional fucks. It's like all his character work goes into Walking Dead) and it almost makes the book fucking unreadable. Admittedly it's only the first volume, so maybe further reading will produce an interesting villian or something...

 

PS- Piracy is wrong. If you're gonna enjoy the fruit of these guy's labour buy the damned book. I've supported Marvel & DC through countless terrible periods(I bought SI, modern Claremont books and FInal Crisis), so if I can figure out this torrenting biz, I fugure I've paid my dues to be able to scan a few titles for this year while I save for the US.

 

PPS- Buying the trades is cool and all, but be careful your books don't skate the edge 100 bullets almost did where they almost went to serialised graphic novels. With half the fans torrenting and the other half waiting for trade, not enough people will buy the monthlies to justify printing 'em, and I don't care if a book reads better in trade, if it's good enough I'll get both.

 

[/early morning unintelligible rant]

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Oh I'm with you when it comes to pirating comics or any paper media for that matter (couldnt give a toss about movies or music, they make their money one way or another). I'll use torrents only to play catch up or see if i even like something. After that its Purchaseville, population: Me.

 

As for the trades and monthlies debate well I've no patience so i'll probably just end up buying both anyway.

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  • 10 months later...

this series is nearing issue 50 and i gotta say, i really like the direction its going in, shit's more compelling than even its sly premise led on to.

 

 

america (proper) is drawing the battle lines now that elected leader Parco made acquiring a nuke his first duty, meanwhile Matty's put down the camera for a gun, doing various duties for Parco & himself around the city...this month's issue showed him crossing a line, and clearly set up the parallel for Matty as Che to Parco's Castro. its fairly overt, but its interesting shit either way.

 

 

cant wait to see where it goes from here.

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