Friday, March 12, 2010

Comic Review: Dark Oz

Set right after issue #20 of Caliber Comics' Oz comic, this 5-issue series of Dark Oz from Arrow Comics concludes the original storyline, but with an agressively bleaker attitude.

We open with a lengthy recap of the previous series, but soon find Dorothy, Trot, Betsy Bobbin, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Hungry Tiger still searching through Glinda's seemingly deserted castle for clues to the Fountain of Youth to restore Dorothy to her proper age. However, the castle has been taken over by Stitch, the "son" of the Scarecrow that he had made with the Powder of Life back when he was evil and under the Nome King's control. Stitch has raised an army of living scarecrows to go forth and conquer Oz. Dorothy gets sent into a magic mirror, which leads into the Wonderland mini-series. Meanwhile, the Gilikens are invaded by the Goblin army, and its surviving leaders take refuge in Emerald City. Ozma goes to reestablish relations with the suceeded Quadlings, but is met with a near fatal arrow to the chest. She is saved by the Wizard's magic, but realizes that Oz is no longer the peaceful land she once knew. Amber Omby and Lion reclaim the Winkie capitol, but only hold on to it briefly as the goblin hordes overwhelm and kill them. Scraps shows up at Glinda's castle to free her friends, but Scarecrow sacrifices himself to stop Stitch and his mad army. The Wickedest Witch it turns out has captured Glinda herself, and drained her of her life essence just before launching her final assault on the Emerald City. The Goblins kill most of the remaining heroes, including Trot, Sawhorse, Betsy Bobbin, Jellia Jamb, and Tik-Tok. Scarecrow shows up not dead, and has salvaged Glinda's mystic Book of Undo. Whether this is some alternate version of the Great Book of Records is never explained, but after the last of her friends are killed by the Wickedest Witch, Ozma uses the Book to rewrite the history of Oz, and erasing the Witch from existence.

The story continues in the The Land Of Oz comic series where they totally open in a time-altered version of Oz, sorta like in Star Trek 11. There is also the Wogglebug Special that takes place prior to Dark Oz issue #3. The actual Dark Oz comic wraps dangling plotlines, but only by having everyone die a horribly bloody merciless death. It's more than a little depressing to see your childhood favorites get murdered in the most brutal manner possible. They could've just had some sort of time-anomaly that caused Oz to go back to being a land of fancy and fantasy that it was before the Nome King messed it up. I'm unaware if Transfuzion Publishing is planning a trade paperback collecting this or not, but I'd recommend seeking out these comics at least for seeing how the original plot comes to an end.

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