Sunday, July 03, 2005

Joint Review - Dorothy of Oz

Hello! This is Eric and Laura (aka Tegan). We've got a request to review the comic book from Illusive Arts, Dorothy #3, but being contrary, we decided to review all three issues that have come out so far. Also, just to make things more interesting, we're going to make this a joint review. Yup, we're going to review them TOGETHER!

Tegan here... some words of explanation. Dorothy is a comic book that is done in the (for lack of a better term) fumetti style. Fumetti in this case is a combination of photographs and artwork. Thus, some of the characters in Dorothy are actual models. The role of Dorothy is played by Catie Fisher.

Eric here... Mmm, Catie... Here's a picture of her (with me) at Emerald City Comicon 2005:

In the book, however, Catie doesn't look like this at all. Imagine if Disney had made Return to Oz a few years later, but kept Fairuza Balk. That might give you an idea of how Catie looks in the comic.

Dorothy of Oz #1Opening up issue one (Chapter One: The Cyclone) to peek through again, the first thing that strikes me is Dorothy... she's older and ... um ... Goth.

And a potty-mouth! This is not an Oz comic for the kids.

The book opens with Dorothy writing in her diary, which establishes the character nicely in just a couple of pages.

There is very little coloring in the Kansas scenes. Dorothy herself has color, as do her bag and the lights on the truck she hotwires.

Naughty girl!

It's a good way of showing the grey of Kansas (or the sepia from the Movie).

Much of the first part of the book is Dorothy trying to get away from the tornado in her truck. She's a good driver. But she doesn't quite make it. Else this would be a short book.

Oooh look! Traffic safety lessons! (As Dorothy is thrown around the truck in the tornado).

She really should have put on a seatbelt.

One thing I'm noticing here is her parents. It's only been five years since they died. We're getting much more about her parents than we usually get in an Oz adaptation, or even from the original books. She's old enough to remember them, which is not usually the case.

Yup, Kansas plate (on the truck).

The first real burst of color is when the truck finally hits the ground. Dorothy leapt from it just before it hit, and we see the explosion in the background.

The line after "I don't think this is Kansas" is "Maybe it's Colorado". Nice touch.

Sure doesn't look like Colorado to me, though. It's colorful.

And there's an extra planet in the sky.

It is nicely colored, by the way.

Yes, very lush, rich colors.

Here's our first tip that this is not quite the same Oz as we've seen before. The Wizard is missing. And someone is trying to take advantage of that. Could that be the Wicked Witch?

My first thought was Ozma, actually, based on the headgear.

So we're probably both wrong, and it's someone we either don't suspect or haven't heard of yet. And that's the end of issue one.

Dorothy of Oz #2Issue two (Chapter Two: Lost) starts with younger Dorothy, right after her parents died, listening to Henry and Em arguing. These pages are in color, which is underlined when a thought balloon from Dorothy says "Five years ago... when my life started to go gray." I wonder if Oz could ever go gray in this Dorothy's eyes? End of flashback.

She's wearing very sensible shoes. None of these shoes made out of metal or jewels like in the book or movie.

She was also sensible enough to grab her backpack before leaping from the truck. This Dorothy is smart.

But she's wearing leather pants! That's gotta be hot!

Oh. Right.

Nice panorama. Dorothy gets her first good look at Oz on the title page to this issue.

She takes stock of the situation and looks at what's in her pack. That mace just might come in handy.

And a bottle of water. Not much, though.

Well she's got some smarts, even if she doesn't plan ahead so well. Still, that's a nice change from a little girl that just reacts to events.

She reminds me a little of Alice. She's very good at giving herself advice.

Oh, the monkeys showed up early!

That's one nasty flying monkey. Not something you'd want as a pet. At least she fights back.

Oh look, Dorothy's first friend!

I want one!

It looks like Cootie.

Ok, maybe not.

So, Toto's a robot in this version, huh?

"Affirmative, Master!"

Knock it off, K-9 (there's one for the Doctor Who fans out there).

Ok, who is this new character?

A witch?

Who can be revived with water? Doesn't quite follow the "rules" of Oz witches.

Back to the bad guys: Necklace, what necklace? But if she's in the Winkie Country, I bet that is the Wicked Witch of the West.

Who is this Gray Man?

And back to Dorothy and the odd witch... and there's yer necklace. And the witch dissolves into bubbles. Huh.

Yes, but at least we got some exposition now. And Dorothy has a quest.

She's never going to remember those directions.

Dorothy of Oz #3Issue Three (Chapter Three: How Sharper Than A Serpent's Tooth...).

That's one gangly Scarecrow.

I was right. She forgot the directions.

The Scarecrow looks a little like Yul Brynner.

I thought it looks like the standard grey alien.

He's got a big vocabulary, doesn't he? And Dorothy messes with what little mind he has.

Naughty girl.

Wait, she leaves the Scarecrow behind? Now what? Ooh, an oasis.

Eating bugs? I don't think so.

This Dorothy might not do so well on Survivor.

Exploring caves = Bad idea.

You know, there are no caves in any version of The Wizard of Oz I know of.

There is now.

I'm just pointing out how different this Oz is, is all.

What about the Nome King? Didn't he live in a cave?

Yes, but that was later in the books. Oh look, more flashbacks!

She's dreaming. Not the best idea to fall asleep in a strange cave. You never know what you'll wake up to...

There wasn't a dragon in The Wizard of Oz either, so who's this guy?

Beats me. But maybe something in that backpack will come in handy, no? I almost feel like I'm playing a game of Zork. "Use backpack" "Use how?"

Yes, without the clumsy computer getting in the way.

Ouch, it bit her. First a scratch from a flying monkey, then she gets bit by a snake. Poor girl. I don't recall Dorothy ever getting this abused so soon into Oz.

No, she usually doesn't. But even this Dorothy's shirt is getting messed up.

Toto to the rescue!

And that's the end of the books. Thoughts?

I like Dorothy. She definitely has moxie. It's too early to tell just how "Ozzy" this book is going to end up being, though. It's definitely a different take on Oz, of course.

I like the changes. If it were a straight retelling, it would get predictable fast. But this one twists and turns just when you think you have a grasp of the storyline. I like it.

Well, it's definitely a very good looking book. And I don't just mean Catie.

Agreed. The artwork is fantastic, and the melding of the photos with the art is extremely well done. At points I cannot tell what is a studio model and what is just artwork. Very nice.

And very effective. It gives this book a more cinematic feel than a traditional comic book.

I can hardly wait to see their take on the Cowardly Lion.

The Tin Man ought to be interesting too.

So, two thumbs up?

Yeah, but isn't thumbs up those other guys?

Sure. Whatever.

Until next time, this has been a joint review from Eric and Laura (Tegan) Gjovaag. Hope you liked it!

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