Page 45 Review by Stephen
Manhattan is no longer the thriving hub of culture and commerce it once was.
It is a wreck ravaged by all, caught in the crossfire between the U.S. Army and America's own home-grown, anti-establishment militias which rose up while all the eyes and soldiers' feet were abroad in Afghanistan and Iraq, and did a little insurging of their own.
A supposedly demilitarized zone, Manhattan is prone to be bombed with a moment's notice and has become a no-go zone for everyone but the most intrepid or reckless reporters.
Matty Roth is neither of those. He's an inexperienced rich kid whose dad called in a favour and bought him a ticket to shadow a veteran war journalist on an expedition into the heartland of the DMZ. They had a military escort but that lasted all of five seconds before an ambush left Roth scuttling for cover, alone and ill-equipped to survive this alien, inhospitable and virtually lawless environment.
Roth tries to report what he sees, but it's not long, of course, before he begins being used by the military and media alike, whose mendacity is not to be underestimated.
Gruelling but gripping. Warren Ellis raved about the final issue reprinted here, 'New York Times', as the most ground-breaking comic of year in which it was originally published. It wasn't, but it was a clever collage, with Brian Wood himself (or rather, the protagonist) assembling snapshots of life and culture into a "year-one report" for Independent World News.
Other than that, Burchielli's art reminded me a little of Mike McMahon's on THE LAST AMERICAN. It was craggy that way, with a lot of chin. Also, it was the shell-shocked and pocked environment.
Like Brian K. Vaughan in Y - THE LAST MAN, Wood soon begins to examine other practical ramifications of his chosen scenario, in this case the island's isolation, the lack of sustainable firewood and the fate of the zoo whose custodians turn out to be a lot less cuddly than David Attenborough or dear old Johnny Morris.
The best is yet to come, however, when the series whose premise is the result of America's illegal invasion of Iraq becomes the perfect vehicle to damn so much that occurred there including the deployment of private military corporations like Blackwater, the deadly, indiscriminate, gun-ho actions of its mercenaries, and oh so much more.