Review - The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1

The Wizard of Oz seems to be pretty hot right now, with publishers like Zenescope and Arcana venturing into the mythical land of Oz. They're not the only ones however, as Big Dog Ink is making their own foray into the historic property with The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1

The issue is written by Tom Hutchison, with art by Alisson Borges and colors by Kate Finnegan.

Gale is a flavor of Dorothy, haunted by flashbacks to a massive tornado. She's making her way through a rather desolate western landscape accompanied by her horse Toto and two six-shooters on her hips, courtesy of one wicked witch. She's making her way to the Emerald City in hopes of finding the Wizard, but of course a straightforward path would be pretty boring for readers and the characters. Throw in some flying monkeys in a saloon and Gale has her work cut out for her.

Hutchison throws readers right into the mix, capitalizing on the assumption that the reader already knows the backstory behind Dorothy/Gale and how she wound up in Oz. That tornado is probably the only similarity between the two stories, as The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 diverges greatly once Gale lands in Oz. She's a cowboy moving through a dangerous world, off to see the wizard and realizing that the yellow brick road is also powering the world's economy.

If there's one complaint about the story, it's that Gale as a character really holds the reader's hand throughout. There's a lot of narrating of events and some "witty" retorts that sort of detract from some parts of the book. She is the central character, but there's very little interaction with other characters in the book, other than a barkeep, enemy combatant and supposed sheriff. The first issue really establishes Gale as a quick-shot, but not much else because of the minimal interactions.

The art by Borges is very polished. Characters are illustrated well, despite less attention paid to background settings. Gale brandishing the six-shooters is done very well, but when they're holstered they're resting on very curvaceous hips. There are some panels that really only serve to accentuate Gale's figure, which may or may not turn off some readers. There's not a lot of blatant sexuality, although it's clear a few of the panels act more to raise the reader's interest than advance the plot.

As far as adaptations go, The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 is actually an interesting take on an old classic. Giving Gale a bullish attitude coupled with stellar shooting is unique and puts her fate in her hands. Hints have been dropped about the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion and whether or not they play a larger role in the course of the miniseries remains to be seen. For the time being though, find solace in the thought that Dorothy (Gale) could hold her own in a shootout.

The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #1 is available now via comiXology.