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DMZ Vol. 1: On the Ground Paperback – June 7, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
Book 1 of 12 in the DMZ Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A near-future America is torn by war between the Free Armies, who control New Jersey and the inland, and the United States, ensconced in New York City's boroughs. In the war-torn DMZ of Manhattan, Matty Roth, hired as a phototech intern to a famous battlefield journalist, is stranded when the rest of his crew is killed. Overcoming initial panic, he decides to remain as the sole embedded journalist in the devastated, largely depopulated city. It's a career-making assignment--if it doesn't get him killed. Befriended by former med student Zee, who runs a clinic, Matty discovers a society struggling to survive amid skirmishes and snipers (appropriate soundtrack music: Talking Heads' "Life during Wartime"). Of the DMZ issues collected here, the first three establish its premise. In the succeeding two, Matty discovers the "Ghosts of Central Park"--paramilitaries who defend the now-deforested preserve and its zoo animals--and chases a robber who steals his press badge. Wood's writing does justice to the intriguing concept, and Burchielli's jagged artwork effectively conveys the characters' desperation. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Brian Wood released his first series, Channel Zero, in 1997 to critical acclaim, and has produced comics and graphic novels at a brisk pace ever since, becoming one of the most important creators of the last decade. Other works include Couriers, Demo, Local and Supermarket. He has earned multiple Eisner Award nominations, and his work has been published in close to a dozen foreign markets.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (June 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401210627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401210625
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Imagine if the United States were to enter into a second civil war in the present time. With all the technology available today, such as large bombs, sniper rifles, and biological/chemical devices, what would happen to our country? Why would it happen? In this first volume of Brian Wood's new Vertigo series, DMZ, we only get a taste of what would happen, and we're still in the dark as to why.

Photojournalist intern Matty Roth received his dream assignment when he was picked to accompany a veteran reporter into Manhattan. What is so special about Manhattan? Five years after the start of the war between the United States and the Free States (described only as "New Jersey and inwards"), Manhattan has become a demilitarized zone (DMZ), or a no-man's land. Very few people remain on the island. Some of them are sentries from either army while most of them are poor and/or stubborn people who cannot or will not leave their homes. The island is in ruins; most of the skyscrapers have been destroyed, Central Park is a barren wasteland, and the chances of being picked off by a sniper while walking on the streets are almost 100%. Despite all that, the chance to go there and report on what's happening is the dream of any reporter.

Of course, things don't go as planned, and an explosion takes out the chopper that brought Matty to the island as well as the entire crew he was with. Matty is forced to find a way to survive on his own without the ability to be picked up. His cell phone and laptop allow him to communicate with his producer, and he decides that he might as well carry on his assignment. The things that Matty encounters while in the DMZ are equal parts horrifying, saddening, and at times, enlightening.
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Format: Paperback
You may or may not know who Brian Wood is (yet), but if you are in any way interested in quality comic/graphic novel work, then it's a name you should remember. I have been reading his "Supermarket" series which I have found to be so completely fresh that I felt like I owed it to myself to check out DMZ.

"On The Ground" quickly establishes the scenario, environment, and characters in a terse manner in order to get the story rolling. The quickness of this establishment is aided by the use of a backdrop that is familiar to us all (the events of 9/11), the glazing over of explicit details of exactly how the United States came to be in the current state that Wood has put it in (which will allow for future exposition on the subject), and is a great way to put the reader in the passenger seat and hit the gas. This initial volume is fantastic in setting us up just enough to make the ride fun, and trickling details to us to keep our interest.

"On The Ground" introduces DMZ's main character, young Matty Roth, who is sent to the now-dangerous island of Manhattan as a journalism intern for an investigative news team. He quickly finds himself alone (with equipment) and left to his own survival instincts. Facing a strange world of constantly impending peril, Matt decides that making the best of his situation includes pushing forward with his journalistic intentions. Given this setup, Mr. Wood has created a world with nearly endless possibilites, and the "what-if coolness" of it is very reminiscent of Brian K. Vaughn's "Y: The last Man". I truly cannot wait to see what happens next.

Kudos must also be given to the visual creators of this series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By now, there are more than enough reviews here that give a complete synopsis and rundown of DMZ, that I don't really need to do so myself. But what I would like to comment on in this review is the tone and perspective of the series, for those of you who might be interested. This series was written during the mid to late 2000's, during the height of the Iraq War, and it seems to be intended as a commentary on that particular conflict, and US foreign policy. All that is well and good. The problem for me is, I sure would like to be able to read the story without the author constantly jabbing his elbow into my ribs, saying SEE WHAT I'M DOING HERE?

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 a problem at all, of course, even in a book like this, especially if it's a thoughtful and well-crafted story, and if it isn't filled with stupid straw people as stand-ins for the opposing view to the author's. 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. 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.
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