By Brian Wood (W) and Riccardo Burchielli (A)
Published in 2007, comprises issues 6-12, Vertigo. $12.99
The Plot: Journalist Matty Roth is now established in war-torn Manhattan and has been there for almost a year. But things aren’t easy, as he’s stuck in essentially a third-world country stuck in the middle of a civil war. While the first trade served to establish the characters and setting, this volume serves as denouement. In other words, $*@% goes crazy. Matty finds that his situation is much more challenging and complicated than he imagined, as both of the warring sides try to coerce him into assisting them.
The Positives: Just like the first volume, this second addition has great art, a great story and is relevant to the current events going on around the world in several ways each issue. Wood does a really good job of filling in some gaps from the first five issues (in two pages he effectively explains the cause of the war and how things got to where they are) and also greatly complicates both the war itself and Matty’s role within the DMZ. Also, several weeks back we did a Book of Doom review of issue 12, which is a sort of Guide to the DMZ. As none of us were regular readers, we really came down hard on it. But it works very well as reference material at the end of this volume. Another extremely good thing is the price. Seven issues for $13!
The Negatives: This volume has a few more flaws than the first one. First, some of the references to current events are a bit jarring (mostly a Hurricane Katrina smack-me-over-the-head moment). Second, and this is a problem also shared with the first volume, the collection has no special features, which is something I’ve come to expect from trades. Third, the plot is complicated a hell of a lot, which is good, but then a ton of that is resolved. I wouldn’t have minded a few more loose threads to entice me into the next arc.
The Grade: A- Still, I’m sticking with this series. There’s too much good going on for a few little problems to sabotage a strong book.