Monday, July 11, 2011

Ozma of Oz #8 (of 8)

This issue wraps up Marvels' adaptations of the first three Oz books by L. Frank Baum, and what a delight they've been!

In Ozma of Oz, the title character works with Dorothy, Billina, Tik-Tok, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger and the (laughable) Army of Oz to try to rescue a queen and her 10 children from the Nome King.

It's no simple task - they're trapped in his underground fortress and the King commands an army of Nomes - and he has a magic belt that allows him to do just about anything, including turn his opponents into ornaments.

But the King has a weakness - one that makes it very handy indeed to have a chicken on hand.

Once again, Eric Shanower writes a perfect adaptation, giving each character just the right amount of stage time - and the proper voice - to play their part. It's amazing that something written so long ago (the original story, that is) can still feel so fresh and new.

I've about run out of superlatives for Skottie Young's art - it's just pure delight and invention from start to finish - funny without being silly or childish, inventive without poking you in the eye for effect, and always in service to the story. Just a great talent, and one to watch closely in the years ahead.

There's a reason why the Oz books have stood the test of time and still have a devoted following today - they're clever, loaded with great characters and imaginative situations. And there's something wonderful about seeing a scrappy girl from the Midwest standing up to powerful enemies and winning the day!

If you haven't been following this series, shame on you - you're missing some of the best comics around. Thankfully, there are collections out there to enjoy - and more stories on the way, as September brings us the beginning of the adaptation of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz!

What a great time to be reading comics!

Grade: A


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