Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1

By Zak Edwards
December 11, 2008 - 17:06

I have never read the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, my experience with this children’s classic is limited to the film adaptation starring Judy Garland and seeing the musical “Wicked,” which is itself an adaptation of a book using the land of Oz by Gregory Maguire.  So instead of reading the actual book, I’ve decided to turn to yet another adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for one single reason.  That that reason is Skottie Young, the amazingly gifted artist drawing this series.  I fell in love with Young’s style when I first saw his work on New X-Men, drawing crazy landscapes of Hell and equally interesting demons to inhabit his fiery realm.  So when I found out he was drawing an adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I was on board from the get-go, and he has not disappointed.

Writer Eric Shanower's Variant Cover
Eric Shanower has a lot of experience in everything Oz, with the vast majority of his success coming from adaptations and expansions of and on L. Frank Baum’s works.  So for him to adapt this story is beyond a perfect choice, it’s an inevitability.  So when I got my hands on this issue, settled down, and started reading, I simply gave myself over to this creative powerhouse combination of Shanower and Young.  The story differs from what I remember of the movie, but apparently that version was exactly faithful in its adaptation.  So the story became disorientating, but at my own fault, not this writer’s.  Shanower does try to orientate the reader as much as possible, with the Good Witch of the North explaining to Dorothy and the audience what’s going on.  So this issue becomes much more of an introduction than plot-driven story, with plenty happening, but in a very quick pace to allow for plenty of time for the explanations.  But the book is very well told so far, and I look forward to the next seven issues.

Skottie Young is an incredible artist, his energetic, highly expressive art allows for the fantasy of the story to come to the forefront.  His characters look amazing as well, and if anyone was lucky enough to pick up the sketchbook released last month, you know Young put a lot of time and effort into each and every character.  I absolutely love Dorothy’s dog Toto, who is constantly popping up all over each panel.  His Munchkins are not quite dwarfs and not quite leprechauns, occupying a space in between, and his Good Witch of the North fits into the kind hearted grandmother role perfectly.  But Young’s Scarecrow is my favourite so far, simply
on how he moves.  He is constantly seeming on the verge of collapse and off-balance, much more than any live recreation could ever do.  But special mention should be given to colourist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, whose colours help reinforce everything both Shanower and Young do.  The final picture of Dorothy and the Scarecrow walking into the sunset is breathtaking, as are all of his skies.  The cloudy, foreboding clouds of Kansas contrast starkly with the crystal blue skies of Oz, highlighting its fantastical elements.  Skottie Young does not disappoint, in fact, this may be some of his best comic book work to date.

9.5    Fantastic story only helped by jaw-dropping artwork.

Last Updated: September 6, 2021 - 08:15

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