Wow, this quest to reread every story in Oziana is just about done now, how did that happen? (Relax, I have more stories to read once this is done!) Can it be only two years ago now that the 2018 issue came out? Well, here it is again, and I'm starting with "The Strongman of Oz" by Jay Davis and Jonathan Miranda, illustrated by Sam Milazzo. Theo St. James is the strongman in Bailum and Barney's Consolidated Show circus, and he's about to enter the big top when he is magicked away to the Kingdom of Dreams. There, Myletta, the Witch of Dreams, demands to know information about the Wizard of Oz so that she can use him in her plans to conquer the waking world. But Theo has no idea who the Wizard is, until he discovers that he is Oscar, one of his old circus colleagues. Theo then reflects on his times with Oscar, and how prickly they could be together. But the Wizard holds no grudges, and comes to Theo's rescue. In the Emerald City, both Theo and Oscar deal with their issues, and then Theo is given the chance to start an amazing new life.
This is a fun story because even though the threat from the Witch of Dreams is serious, it's not the main thrust of events. It's much more of a character study about how others (Theo, in this case) have perceived the Wizard when he was still working in America. We all know that, although he's a stand-up guy now, the Wizard has had a bit of a shady past, and it colors how Theo sees him. Fortunately, the Wizard is not a vindictive man, and he and Theo work things out.