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
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