Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Vertigo Comics (DC Comics)
Wood & Martinbrough
The formation of the Free States of America begins in this flashback issue. For as long as I have been reading this series I have wondered about a number of aspects of the war and this is one of them. I can’t say this issue answered all of my questions and, in some ways, now that the mystery has been unveiled I think I preferred my own imagination to have run wild about the origin of the war rather than have it explained for me. At least on this small of scale. It’s a good issue but it isn’t the epic beginning story I had hoped for. Perhaps Part Two of the arc will bring it all together.
The story follows one character. Sure, he’s a known player in the overall story but he isn’t introduced here at all which is slightly frustrating. What we get in the opening of the comic book is a display of the types of characters that make up the Free States. It’s presented as a group of mercenaries that love guns and shady deals. It’s a group that isn’t really trustworthy and they don’t have the appearance of Americans that have had good luck throughout their lives. It’s consistent with the characters seen in the Free States army all along but it feels slightly stereotypical.
From the opening we get various news casts of the state of the country. The country has overstretched themselves with too many military actions and the country’s funds are running dry. This creates an atmosphere where domestic terrorism becomes more common because people want the government to take better care of the needs at home instead of leaving for foreign disputes.
What I had a hard time reconciling with these news snippets is that they are all to be taken at face value. No counterpoint is ever really given where we know that in reality news organizations spin any and every event to support their own agenda. Whether that agenda is ratings or something more political. The other aspect of the news pieces that I had trouble with was the speed in which the events led to chaos. It just felt like within a couple of panels things went from committing more money to war to complete bedlam.
The set up seems to work though. If the bulk of the military leaves the country and many government employees are left out of work then couldn’t an internal rebellion make some headway? It sure would appear to be the case. But what happens when the armed forces return? Well, I guess we will see next issue.
The artwork is good. Martinbrough has a cleaner style and it shows in this issue. The comic book actually offers a good view of how the country was prior to complete war and destruction. It’s pretty and this is the style Martinbrough brings to this issue. I was taken aback by the style change but it’s a welcome change with the nature of this story.
DMZ begins its final year of stories and I am eager to see how it all ends. This issue gives some of the background of the very beginning. It’s a somber read to watch a country become torn apart. However, it’s only going to get worse once the fighting really starts. This was a good but not great read.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles