Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Comic Review: Ozma Of Oz (Marvel Comics)

Well, Marvel's treatment of the Oz books keeps getting better with their version of the third book, Ozma Of Oz, which was released as an 8-issue mini-series. Eric Shanower adapts it to comics, and Skottie Young has returned to masterfully handle the artwork.

We finally bring Dorothy back to the fold, who falls off a ship at sea with her chicken friend Billina, and wind up in the land of Ev. They free the steampunk robot Tik-Tok, then get imprisioned by the head-changing Princess Langwidere, the acting "head" of Ev. She's then rescued by Princess Ozma, and all her old friends from Oz. Ozma has travelled across the Deadly Desert to free the royal family of Ev from the wicked Nome King. When the heroes finally arrive at the nomes' underground dominion, the Nome King tricks most of them into becoming parts of his ornament collection, but they're saved by Billina's eggs which are like Kryptonite for nomes. After seizing the Nome King's magic belt, they restore the Ev royal family, go back to Oz, and eventually send Dorothy back to her Uncle Henry in Australia.

Not much was changed from the original version of the book as far as the story or content is concerned. There are some differences in the way the characters look and seem to act. Tik Tok has kind of a Mario Bros. mustache, although I miss his helmet, but he was certainly more livelier than normal and less mechanical. Princess Langwidere has a very Grecian look to her, as if she's out of a piece of renaissance art. Billina appears more onery than normal, and Hungry Tiger is like a large plushie. The nomes are especially creepy being short little hair guys with jagged teeth, and the Nome King is a very spooky as a shorter twisted version of Santa Claus with a bad haircut. We get to see more of Ozma(especially since she's the title character)who this comic illustrates well how new to the idea of being a ruler she is, as Ozma's determination to free the Ev royal family seems to cloud what better judgement she might have. Dorothy is slightly older with a shorter and lighter haircut, but not as curly as in the original book.

Marvel did a great job promoting this, and has kept it as one of their top-selling titles. There are alternate covers to Issue #1, and a hardcover collection. A paperback graphic novel will be released sometime in 2012, just around the time when Dorothy Of And The Wizard In The Land Of Oz finishes its print run.

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