Monday, September 13, 2010

Comic Review: Woe Is Oz

This indy series has been in print beginning in 2009. Woe Is Oz is a new comic written by Ethan Tarshish and drawn by Kelley Brown(from Comic Volt). It is an ongoing title set as a somewhat modern day continuation of the original L. Frank Baum Oz books.

The story starts out with Lion looking over a wartorn landscape in Oz after some large battle. Shoot to three years earlier where Tik-Tok's creators Smith and Tinker(who somehow made it back from the moon and the water painting)come across General Jinjur leading Ozma's army. Cut again to Winkie Country a year before that where the Winkies are tired of their subjugation by Queen Ozma, who holds them responsible for the Wicked Witch of the West's rise to power. Considering this all happened a while before Ozma even assumed the throne, it seems more than a little suspect. But the Winkie couple, Umb and Ra, lead a revolution against the Munchkins who they've been forced to make up for their accused crimes. After murdering a few Munchkins, the Winkies take over the Tin Man's palace, and hold their former emporer captive. They make a deal with Smith and Tinker to create an army of clockwork soldiers, plus send one of Oz's apparently several "Crooked Magicians"(Pipt and Nikidik included)to form an alliance with the new Nome King, Guph. Go back a further year to Kansas where Dorothy finds Em cheating on Henry. Dorothy also begins to believe that her entire experience in Oz was just a delusion, and starts to take medication for it, although she keeps seeing images in a magic mirror Ozma gave her(shades of Return To Oz?)that they keep asking for her help from.

Woe Is Oz makes for a decent comic book, although it gets very dark and grim at points. For some reason, the concept of immortality in Oz is negated with Munchkin murders. Also, Ozma would more than likely not hold the Winkies accountable for the actions of the Wicked Witch of the West. If that's the case, then why didn't she punish the Munchkins for the Wicked Witch of the East? The story seems to be developing well, but my main problem with it is how it keeps skipping back and forth 3-5 years from the opening shot with the Lion. I'd say that the comic is not so much for Oz traditionialists, but for someone who was looking for a something alot more adult in an Oz story. The first two issues are currently out on the comic's webstore, and is also available for download on Itunes.

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