Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oz Comics!

We just got our most recent comics order, so you know what that means: Oz comics! Here's what came:

  • Fables #132. Ozma's still on the team trying to heal Bigby, but that's the extent of the Oz. A whole bunch of storylines are advanced in this one, and it's not looking good for a lot of our heroes. Incidentally, I found out today that both of the main guys behind Fables, Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham, will be at the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle next spring, so I may see if I can pick their brains about the book's Oz content.
  • Oz #2 from Zenescope. Ooooookay, this is a "dark" and "edgy" version of Oz where all of the female characters are all grown up (and out) and wear as little clothing as possible. So, not your traditional Oz, then, is it? Dorothy manages to defeat the Wicked Witch of the East. Then Glinda sends her on a search for the other pieces of the Veridian Scepter (she found the handle, along with Toto, in Kansas) to restore peace in Oz and send Dorothy home. There's a big infodump about the history of this Oz, and how it ties in (loosely) with the rest of Zenescope's titles. Based on what I've seen so far, I very much doubt the writers have even bothered to rewatch The Movie, let alone read the book at all, and certainly no other Oz books enter into this version of Oz. It's kind of enjoyable in its own way, but I'm glad that this is a limited-run miniseries. On another front, I'm also glad that, if Zenescope has to go down the route of multiple covers, they at least allow you to order them all at once, and all for the same price. I managed to snag all four regular covers of this issue, as well as two covers of #1, and pre-ordered multiple covers of #3 and #4.
  • The Steam Engines of Oz Volume 1 #2. I thought the infodump in Oz was big? This issue is almost entirely infodump, giving us the back story to this Oz, and especially the Tin Woodman. The creators of Steam Engines do know their Oz, as we see the flesh-and-blood version of Nick Chopper, Nimee Amee, Ku-Klip (although not named here), and the original events of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. We even get a version of Chopfyt, but not the same as in The Tin Woodman of Oz, and the consequences of his marriage to Nimee Amee is the big difference between the Oz of the books and the events of Steam Engines. And, oh yes, things are gearing up for the big conclusion to the first arc in the next issue. But we've already ordered the first two issues of volume two, so it looks like the story will go on. Despite the major differences between the "real" Oz of the books and this one, I'm enjoying this interpretation of Oz, and I really like Victoria, our engineer protagonist. But I hope the Tin Woodman won't be such a meanie throughout the entire run, and they get him back to his regular old self soon.
  • The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #10. Speaking of reinterpretations of Oz, here's probably my favorite one right now. Scraps has an encounter with Mombi, who gives Scraps a new pet (Bungle!). Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, Jack, and Tip raid Mombi's cottage, and make some discoveries about Ozma. And Jinjur and Pipt make a discovery of their own in the mines under the Emerald City. This was something of a step-back-and-take-a-breath issue, setting things up for some of the big events coming soon, possibly even in the next issue. I would never have thought a Wild West take on Oz could work, but this is an amazing book. And these guys certainly know about the Oz books. But when are Gale and Toto coming back?
  • And finally, Marvel's The Emerald City of Oz #2 (which Marvel still doesn't have on its website for some reason). The reinterpretations can be fun, but there's no place like the original Oz stories. Eric and Skottie are still hitting these out of the park, and this one's no exception. Much of the issue is Uncle Henry and Aunt Em getting used to their new home, from their new wardrobes to their first look at the ground of the palace to the start of the grand tour, ending with their meeting with the Cuttenclips. But there's another story going on here, too, as the final pages see Guph convincing the Growleywogs to join the Nomes' alliance against Oz. I'm still worried that, with only five issues, this book is going to have to leave something out, but so far, everything that I can think of is there, although perhaps a bit rushed and compressed. (Say, is that a quidditch field at Professor Wogglebug's college?) I also like how Eric has altered the structure of the story, so as to even out the Nomes' story throughout. I presume next issue we'll get Guph's encounter with the Phanfasms (and won't Skottie Young's version of them be something to look forward to?), Guph reporting back to Roquat and Ozma discovering their plan in issue four, and the march to Oz in the final issue. I'm still holding out hope that these books will continue into more of the Baum books, but if it must end here, then it's a good place to do it.

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