Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review - The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 (@AspenComics @tjhbigdogink)

"Hang on, Toto."

It's not often that a massive tornado comes along and whisks you away to a far-off land. There are some who have that problem though and Dorothy is one of them. In The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 from Aspen Comics and Big Dog Ink, Dorothy's quest to get home takes a slight detour out west. The issue is written by Tom Hutchison, illustrated by Alisson Borges, colored by Kate Finnegan and lettered by HDE.

Take a trip back over the rainbow to an Oz you never knew existed! Dorothy Gale slips on her ruby spurs after falling out of the sky and is sent off to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City. The only problem is the road is gone! Oz itself has been transformed into a wild west landscape: Flying monkeys and scarecrows still walk the plains of Oz, but in ways you would never have imagined! Featuring re-mastered content, an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Legend of Oz, a special foreword by L. Frank Baum's great-great grandson, Marc Baum, creator commentary and more.

Right off the bat, it's clear that Hutchison is keen on checking off all the Wizard of Oz boxes in The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1. Everything that's "required" to make this an Oz story is there, even if Toto is a horse and the introduction to the Lion and Scarecrow are slightly different. Despite that, Hutchison does infuse the traditional Oz with a pretty interesting twist, with the Yellow Brick Road being removed and Oz a wild west setting that provides a new set of obstacles for Dorothy to overcome. As most of the first issue is Dorothy exploring her new settings though, there is a ton of expository told through her speaking to no one in particular. Sure, she's accompanied by Toto and Dorothy did talk to herself and her dog, but Hutchison's approach in The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 is pretty heavy on narration.

The artwork by Borges is very stylized. Dorothy's look isn't too far from what would be expected of a wild west gunslinger, considering she's from Kansas to begin with. The flying monkeys are substantially more terrifying and the other players all resemble fairly stereotypical western caricatures. Borges does add in a few nice touches of color, incorporating the Ruby Red of the slippers into Dorothy's six-shooters for instance.

The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 is a solid first issue that offers a pretty unique twist on a classic tale. Dorothy is still in search of Oz, only she's making that trek without the benefit of a golden brick road, which has been pillaged by looters desperate for money. Hutchison's script is a little heavy on the narrative dialogue, but it manages to give the reader some sense of what Dorothy is in for. Borges' illustrations are clean and reflect a Dorothy who isn't shy about holding her own against any and all comers. It will be interesting to see how things pan out for Dorothy and the others in The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1, even if it's expected she ends up confronting the Wizard of Oz and/or a Wicked Witch along the way.

The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 is in stores October 7.


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