Saturday, February 13, 2010

DMZ #50

Written by Brian Wood
Art by Rebekah Isaacs, Jim Lee,
Fábio Moon, Ryan Kelly, Lee Bermejo, Riccardo Burchielli, Phillip Bond, John Paul Leon, Eduardo Risso, and Dave Gibbons

The last few years have been rough on Vertigo, sales wise, and so when one of their titles reaches the 50th issue milestone, it is cause for some celebration; especially when that book is frequently one of their most original and best.

DMZ has been telling, over the last four years, the story of New York City during the 2nd American civil war. New York is disputed territory between the American Army and the Free States Army. Matty Roth, a young journalist, was accidentally abandoned in the city, and the series has been chronicling his activities and changing personality throughout that time.

This anniversary issue is the perfect jumping on point for new readers, as it is designed as Matty's "Notes From the Underground", small stories, vignettes, and profile of the different people that have had an impact on Matty's life. Wood uses this issue to showcase some of the many different facets of life in the DMZ that the series has become known for. There is a political story, wherein Matty meets the supreme commander of the Free States forces. There is also a story where he meets a man who has painstakingly protected some of the great works of fine art that were in Manhattan at the start of the war. We get a window into some of the relationships that keep the city functioning, such as when Zee helps recover an unexploded ordinance, and when Matty has dinner with Wilson. In short, this issue encapsulates all that is amazing about this series.

And I haven't even talked about the art yet. Wood collaborates here with a number of incredible artists, and they all manage to display the city in its gritty majesty. I would have liked to see a page by Wood himself, as it's been too long since the earlier issues, where he usually drew a single page.

The last arc of DMZ ended with a huge game changer, in terms of the political and environmental situation within the city. This issue feels like a last look back before Matty jumps into something completely new, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. If you are not reading DMZ, you're missing out.

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