This volume contains 3 stories. The first is a long and satisfying look at propaganda and the unconventional weapons of government. The second is Zee’s origin story featuring her narration of events. The third is a collection of small pieces as written by Matty Roth describing life in the DMZ. These are unusual but atmospheric.
These stories have three different artists including the author himself for the last one. The different narrative forms forgive these diverse artistic styles and the whole thing seems to work.
This is another great instalment in what promises to be an incredible series.
A hearty Thumbs Up!
Tomorrow: DMZ (3): Public Works – Brian Wood
There are people all over the world living in a war zone right now. With our pampered Western lifestyles it is easy for us to ignore their plight. Art has always drawn attention to difficult subjects and there have been several graphic novels that have raised this subject and tried to get us to see what life is like for these people.
DMZ takes a different approach and imagines New York as a war zone. Districts and landmarks known the world over are bombed and occupied. Cleverly this isn’t by some foreign invading force it is easy to hate but rather as a result of an American civil war. You get to see what life is like after Americans drop bombs on populated areas.
Whilst a highly political work, like all war reportage, it’s the human stories that touch you. We follow photographic intern Matt Roth as he is stranded in Manhattan’s Demilitarised Zone. These are short stories of the things he sees, people he meets and his struggle to stay alive. This work is meticulously researched, expertly imagined and skilfully told. An opening news report on the first page tells you everything you need to know to get up to speed in this alternate world.
The art is great. Lots of detail, lots of subdued tones punctuated by fire and explosion. Realistic and expressive faces, dynamic action and a tangible atmosphere of unease and uncertainty.
This is a great work that grips you and won’t let go. It doesn’t smother you with its politics but educates you as to how you could be living if you had simply been born somewhere else.
A genuine Double Thumbs Up!!
Tomorrow: DMZ: (2) Body of a Journalist – Brian Wood
A criminal gets a chance to see a better, different life for himself. Will he take it? This is a charming story, well told, that you can just see making a great film. It is a simple tale but opening with the ending spices things up and fills you full of questions.
The art is the most basic black pen with a bit of brush inking to fill in the backgrounds. There is a deceptive amount of detail in what you assume to be a very rapid technique. The faces are also full of character and rather quirky.
Here is a great example of what you can do with a strong idea and black and white sketches. It has a universal appeal and is brave enough not to give you an ending you might want or expect. It is all too brief sadly, but it is the length it needs to be and isn’t padded or bloated – a brave decision.
For its independent spirit this gets a Double Thumbs Up.
Tomorrow: American Vampire: volume 4 – Scott Snyder