Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Comic Review: Adventures In Oz

Before his bigtime stint of adapting Marvel Comics' Oz comics, Eric Shanower did five one-shot graphic novels through First Comics and later on Dark Horse Comics. These were recently released in an album-sized graphic novel titled Adventures In Oz from IDW Publishing.

The first story is Enchanted Apples Of Oz where a sorceress named Valynn comes out of a hundred year siesta to reveal a tree holding magic apples which hold all the magic in the land of Oz, and the long-hidden Wicked Witch of the South and her overenthusiastic suitor try to steal them. Next in Secret Island Of Oz, Dorothy and Scarecrow try to find a special fish for the Royal Gardener which exists only in a special part of Oz. After running into Eureka, they come across an underground island, and try to save a bratty princess and her living wooden-boy from giant reptiles. In Ice King Of Oz, Ozma is kidnapped by an icy tyrant, so Dorothy and friends head south to try and rescue her, along with their new friend Flicker, a living candlestick man that was cursed by the Wicked Witch of the West. Following that is Forgotten Forest Of Oz where the wood nymph Nelanthe is banished from the forest of Burzee by Queen Zurline, and becomes the bride of the Goblin King to lead an invasion on the forest for revenge. After realizing she's made a mistake, Nelanthe tries to steal some of the Water of Oblivion from Oz so she can forget her misdeeds, but Dorothy stops her and manages to have the goblins get entangled with some rowdy dragons instead. Finally in Blue Witch Of Oz, Dorothy's quest to find out if there ever was a "Good" Witch of the East leads to a discovery by Glinda about the tragic past of a sorceress who lost her husband and then her son.

This collection features some great storytelling and artwork by Shanower, and you can tell you how his style developed from the first one in 1986 to the last in 1992. There are two versions of this graphic novel from IDW. One is the standard paperback, while the hardcover edition has an additional material to it including the comic story General Jinjur Of Oz, alternate endings to Blue Witch and Forgotten Forest, a prelude to Ice King, and several other short Oz comics and illustrations. IDW is planning on reprinting this into a series of smaller graphic novels titled Little Adventures In Oz coming out in 2010. Definately pick up this if you love Oz or appreciate good family literature.

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