Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Latest Oz Reading: Comic Books

It had always been my intention to review individual Oz comics as soon as I'd read them. But the past few months have been so busy that I have piles of them now. As most of them aren't terribly, overtly Ozzy anyway, I will instead do one big catch-up post today, going from the least Ozziest to the most, with appropriate links where possible.

  • Fables. Bufkin's story is done, Ozma's fate has been sealed, and the series is just about over anyway. If you're not already reading this, I wouldn't start now. But you may want to start with the paperback trade collections if you do want to read this epic series.
  • Oddly Normal by Otis Frampton. Oddly is a typical ten year old girl, except for the green hair and pointed ears. It turns out her mother is a witch, from the land of Fignation. When Oddly's birthday wish goes horribly wrong, she is taken in by her aunt in Fignation. Not only must Oddly find out what's happened to her missing parents, she also has to deal with a new school. And she thought she'd had it rough in the real world! This is just a flat out fun all ages book. Oddly has a tough time, being thrown into the deep end in so many ways, but she's finding out that she's stronger than she thinks she is. A few oblique references to things we learned about witches from Oz should bring a smile to fans' faces. (By the way, that link above goes to the first collected trade edition. If you want to know what's currently up with the comic, go here!
  • Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland by Eric Shanower, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Nelson Daniel. Yes, this is based on the famous, ground-breaking comic strip, and yes, the writer is that Eric Shanower. If you know the original, this will be familiar ground, but they do a good job of making it accessible for those new to Slumberland as well. When the Princess of Slumberland wants a new playmate, King Morpheus finds one in one James "Nemo" Summerton. He's not sure what to make of things at first, but quickly catches on. This miniseries was a delight, so I hope we get to see more, possibly in a regular series.
  • Fiction Squad by Paul Jenkins and Ramon Bachs. In the world of Fablewood, every fictional character that ever existed lives. Frankie Mack is a hard-boiled detective recently transferred to the City of Rimes, home to all of the nursery rhymes. When Frankie tries to figure out who pushed Humpty Dumpty off the wall, he stumbles across a turf war between the Queens of Wonderland and the Witches of Oz that threatens to tear Rimes apart. Lots of Oz references in this one. Adding in other types of characters, not just children's ones, sets this apart from similar efforts and gives it a nice bite.
  • Ozopolis #4 by Kirk Kushin and Gonzalo Martinez. Yes, the concluding issue is now out! The new witch that's been manipulating events in Oz fears she is about to be discovered, and so she moves up her plans to finally take control. Of course, she has badly underestimated a certain princess from Kansas. This brings the series to a satisfying end, yet it also opens the door for new adventures as well. Highly and strongly recommended for all Oz fans, particularly if you're a fan of the books. (If you want to order a copy through the Ozopolis store, go ahead and order another issue, then indicate you want #4 instead in the notes when you check out. They haven't updated in a while, it seems, but the issue is indeed available.) (Oh, and here's the book's Facebook page.)
  • And finally, we catch up with what Zenescope Comics have been up to. Warlord of Oz wrapped up, with Warlord and Zamora defeated, but they managed to escape to fight another day. Meanwhile, Dorothy learns that Zamora is her mother! Then Dorothy grabs Glinda's Ruby Staff and feels a rush of power. This all leads into the next series, Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen. Dorothy returns to the Emerald City as a hero, and with magic powers at her command. But then those around her start to die, and it does not look good for her. What happens next will have to wait until I read issue #2!

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