This is powerful stuff. Although fictional you feel that this is as real as it gets. Wood is deadly serious and his gloves are coming off. So far he has changed many of the names to protect the guilty but this time you know exactly who he is going after in this gut-wrenching tour-de-force.
Using a monologue approach and listening to characters tell their own stories to our protagonist while the pictures mime along is stunningly effective. DMZ has established its own style and shorthand. We know by the type of lettering who is speaking and can hear their voice clear as day in our heads. This is the finest example of “life writing” ever fictionalised.
Because it is fiction you keep hoping for a happy ending. You have been conditioned to believe the good guys win. With DMZ and its home-truth honesty you don’t get that any more. Although reading a book to escape you are shown the world around you clearer than you have ever seen it before.
There is a frank introduction by a former soldier that sets the serious tone for the piece. There is also a short introduction, cast of characters and faction rundown. These are unnecessary for those who have been reading along but provide a jumping on point for anyone new or who reads this volume in isolation.
The art is just off the scale with some incredible rainy scenes that use only grey for colouring. All the colour and lighting is superb with some almost psychedelic combinations. There is a different artist for one issue that you don’t notice until you look back as you are shocked and awed by the story.
This is most forceful DMZ to date and probably one of the finest graphic novels ever written. The best of the best and a Double Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: DMZ (5): The Hidden War – Brian Wood