DMZ is finished: Brian Wood nailed the ending

After six years and 72 issues, Brian Wood has finally finished his epic graphic novel DMZ, and the final issues are collected in a collection, entitled The Five Nations of New York.

There is practically nothing I can tell you about this installment that isn't a spoiler. So, without going into detail, let me say that this is the kind of ending you really want for a story you've followed, been moved by, and lived in for half a decade. Wood has nailed the dismount here, pulled off an ending that literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I read the final pages, and after I closed the cover, it left me with my eyes closed, holding the book against my body, as I absorbed the impact.

If you're just tuning in, DMZ is the story of an America caught in the midst of so many "elective" overseas military adventures that the nation itself crumbles and is gripped in a civil war between a guerrilla force of the "Free United States" and the military-industrial complex, mostly in the form of vicious, private military contractors. NYC is the place where the two forces clash, the "DMZ" where there are many civilians, but no innocents. Matty Roth, the story's hero, is a helper with a news crew for Liberty News, the hyper-patriotic, semi-state-owned propaganda news service. As he arrives in New York, his helicopter is shot down, and he finds himself catapulted into a new role as a boy reporter. From those beginnings, the story unrolls, as Roth discovers the truth of war, becomes the story he is reporting on, and finally falls too deep.

DMZ is complete, and so has now officially joined the world of marvelous treasures that live up to all their glorious potential. Finally, DMZ can be inhaled in one draught. I sincerely hope that Vertigo brings out all 12 collections in one or two volumes, like the Watchmen trade paperback that was so many readers' road into comics. In the meantime, you could do worse for the people you love than to give them all 12 books in one go. And you could do worse for yourself than to bring all 12 along on your summer holiday to be read straight through.

DMZ 12: The Five Nations of New York


  1. I own all 12 volumes now, and maybe it needs a re-read, but while I was totally satisfied with the ending, I feel that much of the series was a solemn look at what this potential NYC could look like and unless you live there, perhaps doesn’t resonate as strongly. Whereas I look at stories like Transmetropolitan (about a gonzo journalist in a potential future) and after finishing its 10 volumes, I had a mindsplosion.

    We’ll see how I feel on my next read of DMZ. Already recommended it to a few friends, regardless.

  2. Also: reported as The Five Nations of America, but picture says Five Nations of New York?

  3. Wow! This series is news to me and I’d love to read it. Is it available in digital form somewhere?

    1. Comics @ Comixology have a fair chunk of it in their store though no collected volumes are available for download as yet (iirc).  If you have a droid or ithing the app is excellent.

      ** Whilst I think of it, if you download the free app there are plentiful free taster comics on there to give you an idea of what it’s like to use, inc. batman, walking dead and various indie stuffs **

      1. Hi, Thanks.  I don,t think it,s available for iOS but I’ll look.  I’m reading horror stories about copyrights and people having their purchases disappear though.  More research is needed (I’m in Canada).

        1. If you buy the meatspace editions the spines of the books line up into the cityscape of the ruined New York.  Just something to think about.

  4. The artwork in this series also deserves a mention – it is *incredibly* detailed. The graffiti in itself is amazing. 

    I agree about the ending. I have started The Massive, and that looks just as promising. :)

  5. “I sincerely hope that Vertigo brings out all 12 collections in one or two volumes, like theWatchmen trade paperback that was so many readers’ road into comics.” 

    Watchmen was 12 issues… fitting 72 in one or two trades would be quite a trick.

    1. Just bought issue #1 of that yesterday. I haven’t opened it yet, so I can’t report, but I’m looking forward to it. 

  6. Cory says “has finally finished,” but, in fact, he actually finished up some months ago, certainly when the final issue came out as a single comic book, rather than when the final trade paperback came out, which is what Cory is apparently referring to. I like trade paperbacks (I have entire runs of some of my favorite series in trade paperback) and this may see like nitpicking, but if you really love comics, you should consider trying to buy yours in issue-by-issue comic book form. There’s good books that are canceled because they don’t sell in the initial comic book form and therefore never get to trade paperback form. Support your favorite writers and artists by buying the comic books, if you can! Especially the creator-owned books! 

    I’m currently doing this with Wood’s The Massive, BKV’s Saga (highly recommended), Ennis’s The Boys (coming to an end soon, sadly), and some others.

    And, it’s pretty easy in most towns to do so. Here in Portland, if I get interested in a book, I just email my local store and say, “Hey, stick this series in my buy box for me, thanx!”  Then, I can go two or three months being absent-minded about my comic books and then say, “Oh yeah! There’s probably a few issues of such-and-such waiting for me” and go pick them up all at once. 

    That way, you get to read the stories before everybody waiting for the trade and you get to support your favorite creators. 

  7. i have a quick question… why does roth still have the bandage on his nose 5 years after he hurt it?

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