My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: Very cute, enjoyable story that’s meant to be the prequel of the animated movie coming out for “Dorothy of Oz”. I did have some qualms in the telling of this story as well as some of the characterizations, but I couldn’t help smiling in parts of this because it had some very fun moments, and I liked being able to revisit Oz after quite some time away from it.
“Dorothy of Oz Prequel” surprised me in that it was such a totally fun and immersive read. I read it inside of an hour as it was only 96 pages of beautifully animated adventures through the world of Oz, albeit brief it was still a pleasant journey. This prequel is meant to be an accompaniment to the upcoming animated film “Dorothy of Oz”. It’s the story of what led Dorothy to return to Oz after the tornado that decimated her home in Kansas, leaving her farm to be condemned. Dorothy herself doesn’t make but a brief appearance in this comic – but the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion all come to the forefront, and this is mostly their tale to tell.
The brother of the Wicked Witch of the West, the Jester, picks up where his sister left off before she was…erm…melted. Stealing away his sister’s broomstick and combining it with a super powerful orb, the Jester starts wrecking havoc on the lands of Oz alongside the Flying Monkeys, including Munchkinland. Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion (who just goes by Lion, ’cause he says he has courage now :P) undertake a journey through Oz to find a way to bring Dorothy back to Oz to stop the Jester. They journey through some very interesting lands, and I definitely appreciated the array of characters they meet along the way as well as the challenges they face. I particularly liked Marshal Mallow’s character and hope to see more of him as the story goes along.
I think the artwork in this is so beautiful. The design of the characters, the panels themselves – all are very consistent and vivid to the eye with the coloring, capturing the imaginative locales and the expressions of the characters very well. That impressed me. I did have a few qualms with a few of the written characterizations, but those were more minor nitpicks than anything else, and I don’t think they really factored into my enjoyment of the overarching story. I didn’t remember Tin Man being such a overly sensitive goof/scaredy cat with his acquired heart, but I think his characterization evened out as the story went along, and there were some genuinely funny and hair raising predicaments that the three get into as they try to find the materials needed for Scarecrow’s machine to bring Dorothy back to Oz. Scarecrow was an awesome leader as per usual, and Lion I thought was fine. The Jester had a great introduction and made for an interesting foe, who I think will be one to watch as the story unfolds further.
Humor wise, the story is pretty much hit or miss depending on what you take from it – never too heavy, quite light in nature. On the whole, I thought it was cute and made me chuckle a few times. I think kids/teens will like it as well. It’s all light in its overarching delivery, and the pacing, I found, was appropriate considering the age group this is intended for and the nature of the tale itself.
Overall, I really enjoyed this and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more from this particular adaptation. It’s an easy read to pick up if you want something light and funny and certainly for those who like the franchise.
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher IDW Publishing.