DMZ: On The Ground (Volume I) – A Graphic Novel Review

I picked this up on a whim while visiting my local library and DMZ: On The Ground grabbed me by the jugular and wouldn’t let go within two pages.

Even though the premise of DMZ has been done before, author Brian Wood delivered his take on a second American civil war with such adrenaline and ferocity that it is unlike any of its thematic predecessors.

The idea is that because our armies our stretched so thinly overseas, radical militias within the heartland separate from the USA and spread all the way to New Jersey.  Manhattan becomes the DMZ while the rest of New York is still the United State’s.  A young intern named Matt (Matty) Roth flies in with a journalism crew and then becomes stranded after the entire crew is wiped out.  Instead of fleeing during the next available extraction, he decides to become embedded within the war-torn DMZ and report what’s truly happening.

I read a lot of graphic novels, and it’s been a long time since one completely captivated me within instants of starting it.  Brian Wood executes a tight, fast-paced, brutal storyline with realistic dialogue.  Wood also impressed me with the sheer logic of what things would really be like if this actually ever occurred.

Artist Riccardo Burchielli draws some of the most detailed, tense renderings I’ve ever seen.  While not meant to be photo-realistic, he amazed me by faithfully depicting a city in shambles.  His half-destroyed buildings, burnt cars, litter, and bomb craters sucked me right into the story and made me feel like I was living it, not reading it.  This is one of the highest compliments I can pay an artist.

Along with Fables and Ex Machina, DMZ has moved to my “must-read” list and I urge you to read it as well.

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