DMZ 10: when siege turns to surge

Collective Punishment, the tenth volume of Brian Wood's fantastic (anti-)war comic DMZ, follows the format set out in the first half of book nine: a series of short vignettes that jump from character to character, setting to setting, each illustrated by different artists,It's a chance for the illustrators who've been captured by Wood's apocalyptic, besieged New York City to play around in his world.

Collective Punishment is the story of a "surge" aimed at breaking the back of the resistance in Manhattan, the titular DMZ in a dirty civil war that has split America. Told from the points of view of traitors, refugees, artists, prisoners, power brokers, radicalized civilians and soldiers, the powerful and the powerless, these stories are particularly poignant today, as bombs fall in Libya and security forces shoot at protesters in Syria and Bahrain.

Wood's version of a war story is all grit, no romance. As always, he's telling the story of people who are the involuntary spectators and participants in someone else's clash of civilizations. It's a perspective that's simultaneously unforgiving and deeply emphatic, and it's why Wood's DMZ is some of the best material written about war in any medium.

DMZ Vol. 10: Collective Punishment