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DMZ Vol. 1: On the Ground Paperback – June 7, 2006
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 7 ounces
- Paperback : 128 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1401210627
- ISBN-13 : 978-1401210625
- Publisher : Vertigo (June 7, 2006)
- Product Dimensions : 6.64 x 0.3 x 10.18 inches
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,084,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It's very obvious that the author, Brian Wood, is very far to the left when it comes to political ideology. That in itself isn't necessarily a problem, especially if it's a thoughtful and well-crafted story, and if it isn't filled with absurd straw people as stand-ins for the opposing view to the author's. After all, one look at just about any comic book writer's Twitter feed and you'll discover that Mr. Wood isn't alone. If you eliminate all far left comic book authors, you're left with almost no comics to read. But for my taste, this series pretty quickly devolved into elitist left-wing propaganda. It's clear that Mr. Wood has the opinion that too many New Yorkers seem to have; namely that if you're from the middle of the country, you're pretty much an uneducated racist redneck, and that's all you can ever be. Likewise, anti-corporate, anti-capitalist, and a lot of pretty blatant anti-American sentiment just starts to permeate through the entire series, especially as it goes into the final stretch. If you think the Democratic Party is way too conservative, you probably won't even notice any of this. If you think Antifa's pre-emptive violence against anyone who disagrees with them is justified, because anyone who disagrees with the extreme left really must be a Nazi, then you might find the tone in this book right up your alley. For anyone to the right of Trotsky, it might start to get on your nerves.
Of course, like all works of art, this series deserves to be judged based on the time it was written. DMZ was written during a time when it was just becoming cool and even mainstream to call the sitting President a traitor, a genocidal maniac, and a war criminal. (Sound familiar in 2018? Forget that pretty much every major country in the world agreed with the Iraq war based on the same faulty intelligence, and even though most of the opposition party here in the US voted in favor of it). So, to be fair, you do have to look at DMZ's tone in context of the time. But if you're just looking for a good, thoughtful story, with great characters, which involves heavy themes about why war should always be the very last option because of the horrific human consequences, and what military occupation does to the human condition - and if you're now more than a decade after these first issues were written - then DMZ begins to feel a bit dated and extremely biased. Especially now that left wing hysteria in the age of Trump has become so shrill and comical that it makes protest pieces like this seem quaint and even restrained in comparison.
But still, it's pretty bad at times. The worst of it, to me, was the nearly constant moral equivalency argument Wood seems absolutely determined make through the entire series. In fact, I almost got the sense that making that point was his entire purpose for writing the series at all. Suicide bombers? Well, they're just poor, misunderstood, good people at heart, doing all they can in the face of injustice. They're just like you! Hell, you'd probably do the same thing if you were them, and everyone knows they're not responsible anyway, it's all really the fault of those evil right wingers and the greedy corporations they worship, blah blah blah. It's propaganda, plain and simple. And it gets really, really old after a while.
So why do I give it four stars, despite my annoyance with the super duper subtle politics? Well, because it's otherwise fantastic. Technically and artistically, it's easily one of the finest pieces of graphic art storytelling I've read in a long time. I absolutely love the gut wrenching artwork, and Brian Wood is an amazing storyteller (at least when he's not preaching his politics; see Northlanders, one of the best series out there). Every single panel, even those without words, convey a powerful emotion, or move the story forward at a brisk clip. It's one of the best examples of how powerful the use of silence and facial expressions can be in comics, and I wish more writer/artist teams would make use of those tools as skillfully as they're used in DMZ.
So, as I said at the top, this series is absolutely worth your time. Your tolerance for left wing propaganda will determine how much you can enjoy the series. Just be prepared for a neverending barrage of, "SEE? I'M MAKING A POINT ABOUT HOW EVIL CONSERVATIVES ARE RIGHT HERE. THAT'S WHAT I WAS TRYING TO SAY WHEN I SKILLFULLY AND ARTFULLY MADE EVERY CHARACTER WHO'S SUPPOSED TO BE CONSERVATIVE INTO A BLOODTHIRSTY RACIST MANIAC. YOU PROBABLY DIDN'T NOTICE THAT THOUGH, BECAUSE IT WAS SO SUBTLE, AND BECAUSE NO ONE IN POPULAR CULTURE EVER DOES ANYTHING LIKE THAT." *wink, nudge*
If you can stomach that, though, definitely give DMZ a shot. =)
Top reviews from other countries
Draws you in straight away, now looking for the next instalment, go go go
The story is brilliant - a work-experience journalist ends up in the middle of New York, which is now a war zone, and he has to survive, simple. But the plot builds and builds, and all the twists and turns really suck you in. The artwork is fantastic and adds tremedously to the gritty feel of the storyline, and the use of a few artists throughout the series gives each volume it's own distinctive feel.
This, to me, was a proper grown-up story, which just happens to be a cartoon, rather than a comic for kids. As such I would recommend it to anyone from older teen upwards, anyone who likes a real absorbing story, and to people who watch those gritty police/war shows on tv.