Once upon a time, as I finished reading Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 11 trade paperback, I came across their ‘coming soon’ pages at the end of the book. On that coming soon page I saw a vague glimpse of the fourth realm in the Grimm Fairy Tales Universe, the Emerald City and a knight, it was titled Oz and it’s release date was Fall 2012. From that point on I imagined what their Emerald City would bring after walking down the yellow brick road with them, considering their version of Wonderland was horrifyingly fantastic!
Well, here it is Summer 2013 and I FINALLY get the Oz series that Zenescope has been teasing me with!
Was it worth my and other Zenescope fans wait? Is it worth all of the hype it has been getting since it’s official announcement? In a single word, ABSOLUTELY!
“Four realms of power…
Myst: filled with myth and magic…
Neverland: the source of imagination…
Wonderland: a world of dreams turned to madness…
Oz: the realm of hope..
An Earth: the nexus that binds them all together.
Together, the realms of power face a gathering storm that threatens to drown them all in darkness.
Their only hope to stop it lies in an unlikely hero, a seemingly simple Kansas farm girl who dream of a life of adventure. Unbeknownst to Dorothy, Highborn blood flows through her veins and with it, the power to save Earth and the four realms…but Dorothy must learn to use her unharnessed power before the witches of Oz destroy her along with everyone else that stands in their way.”
Zenescope’s Oz gives us what it usually gives us in their re-imagined worlds, which is nods to it’s original source material and their own created universe of Grimm. This is something that Zenescope excels in with their stories, they create a great balance between the original story and their own story. They give us enough to know what it is we are reading about with enough of their own twist to make this story their very own piece of work.
In Oz #1 we meet Dorothy Gale, just your average teenage girl in Kansas with hopes of one day leaving the small town to see the world. Little does she know that her wish for an adventurous life is about to come true once she finds a very affectionate wolf, that she of course names Toto.
But alas, someone comes to Dorothy’s farm to claim the wolf as hers, though Toto is none to happy to see this sexy raven-haired woman clad in black. Uncle Henry, shotgun in hand, comes to the rescue, refusing to give the “dog” up, forcing the woman off his property. The woman creates a magical tornado, and while Uncle Henry and Auntie Em make it to the cellar in time, it whisks the house away with Dorothy and Toto inside.
When the house lands, Dorothy emerges in a not too wondrous Munchkin Land and meets Zenescope’s versions of the munchkins, who look more like trolls, with weapons in hand. At the end of the issue, we get an illustrated version map of The Northern Territories of Oz, which reminds me of the Westeros Map (Game of Thrones). Whether or not it’s intended to look like that I don’t know and to be honest with you, I don’t care. Maybe this is Zenescope’s way of telling us that the long-awaited Oz series is going to have the epic qualities of that fantasy series. Who knows? Seeing a visual map of the land in which the story will take place is a nice touch to the story, especially when some of the lands have different names for them like Oz does: Munchkin land is Bogg, the Domain of the Wicked Witch of the East is ‘The Land of Ak’, the Domain of the Wicked Witch of the West is called ‘Skarab’, and of course The Emerald City is the Kingdom of Zine. One thing that remains true on this map, and obviously further along is this series, is The Yellow Brick Road, which I for one cannot wait to travel alongside Dorothy on.
So though short and only an introductory book to this mini-series, I can foresee Oz as becoming a big title for Zenescope*. Other than the anticipation of Oz, there is so much we don’t know about the Grimm universe Oz and so much that Zenescope can tell us that it’s plain to see there is going to be much more to Oz than just a 6 issue mini-series.
For further reading about Oz (though still just a tease) you can also checkout Grimm Fairy Tales issue #37 (in the Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 7 TPB) and The Dream Eater Saga Part 12 (Dream Eater Saga Vol. 2 TPB).
*Since the time of writing this review, Oz #1 has been Zenescope’s best-selling comic to date, selling out of it’s 30,000 first print run and beating out Marvel’s Emerald City of Oz which was also released in July.
3 out of 5 nerds