After being totally blown away by Brian Wood's comic DMZ, I decided to seek out some of his earlier works, starting with 2005's DEMO, a collection of 12 short stories about "teens with power." Wood's introduction says he came up with the idea after working on franchise comics about teen underwear perverts, and he wanted to revisit the subject from a grittier, more inventive place.
He succeeded. The stories in DEMO are incredibly diverse in their interpretation of what it means to have "power," from telekinesis to lying convincingly. In each case, the power forms the center of a hard-edged little story about the rottenness and the wonder of being young, the endless redemption available and the endless difficulty of achieving it.
It only took me about five pages to get hooked on this thing. A lot of that is due to Becky Cloonan's wildly versatile illustration style which fearlessly changes from story to story, to suit each piece best.
There isn't a single story here that I didn't love, that didn't make me think, that didn't thud home in my heart, though they hardly take more than five minutes apiece to get through.
DMZ: graphic novel, a worthy successor to Transmetropolitan
DMZ comic t-shirt