Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review - Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #1


"And this...this is Dorothy Gale: the Hero of Kan'Zaas, Daughter of Zamora and Queen of Oz."

Traveling to Oz certainly isn't easy and it's not for the faint of heart. The kingdom does have a majesty about it, despite the witches, flying monkeys and disembodied being pulling the strings from behind the scenes. In Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #1 from Zenescope Entertainment, the first two are definitely present, while Dorothy replaces the third. The issue is written by Jeff and Kristin Massey, illustrated by Antonio Bifulco, colored by Hedwin Zaldivar and lettered by Ghost Glyph Studios.

The witch Zamora and the murderous Warlord have been routed, but for how long? As Thorne, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Smynth and Adraste rally the good people of Oz, civil war and flying monkeys threaten the Realm of Hope. Dorothy Gale saved Oz once before, but who will save it from Dorothy Gale?

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #1 is largely a tale of attempting to bring order from chaos. Dorothy has recently won favor with the kingdom of Oz, but with that favor comes the responsibility of keeping it safe as well. The Massey's do a great job telegraphing the struggle to restore order, using it as the backdrop for the issue (and likely the series). There's a decent amount of history leading up to the issue as well, but the Massey's make the book pretty accessible to new readers in the process. Characterizing Dorothy as an unlikely savior is something that also carries the story, demonstrating her ability to keep Oz safe--even if she's doing it with great reluctance.

Bifulco illustrates the book with the typical Zenescope style, where Dorothy isn't shy about hiding her curves. Much of the art is pretty clean across the board, except there are a few instances where facial expressions appear a little vague and lacking in detail. Still, Bifulco does a great job of offering up a diversity of characters inhabiting Oz, not all of whom are humans. Most of the pages sport a large number of inset panels which makes those pages a little busy, but each one does serve a purpose. Zaldivar's colors are pretty bright and airy, befitting the magical land of Oz--save for pages featuring Zamora and her wicked ways.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #1 is another book in the ever-growing Zenescope universe that offers a new take on a familiar tale. Dorothy is now the ruler of Oz, but her rule will be certainly be trying and ask a lot of her as a ruler. The Massey's script is full of dialogue and effectively moves the characters into position in preparation for the duration of the series. Bifulco's illustrations fit the Zenescope style well and captures the magic world of Oz as a mythical kingdom of lore. Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #1 is definitely worth picking up for fans of the series and fans of Zenescope books in general.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz: Reign of the Witch Queen #1 is in stores April 29.

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