DMZ: Friendly Fire

April 16th, 2008 by

I didn’t like this as much as the previous DMZ I’d read. I think it was because (I’m a bit surprised to say) it was less about the characters than the previous stories. Interesting and varied characters have been a big part of what I liked most about this comic. Even in the end, when I minded it less, (and read three issues on the bus to work this morning in quick succession), I still didn’t like it as much as early DMZ, though I liked it better than the beginning of the book.

For those who aren’t familiar, DMZ is about a post-succession United States. Or maybe a mid-succession. Basically, a bunch of people didn’t like the way the war was going, and they didn’t like the way their country was being run, and they decided to take over. But really, all that is just background painting for the stories that have been lovingly rendered in the foreground, that is, the lives of people living on manhattan island… or as it’s known in the book, the DMZ.

So yeah, interesting premise. Political, but it (refreshingly) doesn’t seem to beat you over the head with it. (Usually this means the book more or less agrees with my leanings, or I’d have noticed and gotten pissed about it. Either that, or I’m just a numbscull.) But it’s not the premise that keeps you entertained. It’s not even the setting, which, while it’s totally interesting to see what they do with a war torn New York, takes a distant second to the fascinating characters that have chosen to stay and live in the DMZ.

This book–not so much about the characters. There are only something like three new characters, and they are clearly only present to further this particular story, and none of them seem interesting enough to bring back in future issues. There is one development that happens toward the end of the book that I won’t spoil just in case there are DMZ readers reading this. Otherwise, the story is pretty much all about our hero, Matty Roth, doing what he’s allegedly been doing from the beginning, that is, tracking down a story. This mostly means he’s interviewing witnesses to a tragic event that happened in the beginning of the revolution. These witnesses are either not all that interesting, or they are characters we’ve met in previous issues, (and were more interesting then).

I don’t know, DMZ: Friendly Fire is still worth reading, especially if you’ve already been fascinated by the earlier DMZ, but I think these issues definitely represent a slump in the franchise.

Have you read it? What do you think?

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