Issue by Issue – Oz #5

Writers – Stuart Kerr, Ralph Griffith
Artist – Bill Bryan
Letters – Susan Dorne

Until this issue, readers were uncertain as to where the Wizard or Dorothy or Ozma might be, the grimmest of fates possibly having met them given what has been revealed thus far. As it is, the latter of the bunch, Queen Ozma, is shown to have been a prisoner of the Nome King all this time and he wants that which only she can give him – legitimacy. She, of course, is not having it or anything to do with him and he leaves her with a warning should she continue holding out on him. Elsewhere, writers Stuart Kerr and Ralph Griffith keep the wheels turning so to speak as Kevin, Peter and their new allies in the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman head out to see the once Cowardly Lion. Suffice it to say, the Lion is not so cowardly anymore and is in fact perhaps the most deadly of Dorothy’s original companions, now that he is under the Nome King’s spell. He is scary, to say the least, and means to drop a few bodies now that they have entered his wood and there is no convincing him of it otherwise. If there is one thing that stands true, it is that none of them stand a chance against the Lion except for Nick Chopper, the Tin Woodman and that is only a maybe due to him being made of metal. And so they fight and Bill Bryan does an excellent job of making it look as exciting and as dynamic as possible and the man succeeds. It goes on for a number of pages and it looks amazing and as such, one cannot tear their eyes away from wondering just what will happen and who will come out on top. As it is, killing off one of the main characters is out of the question and so the good guys manage to get the amulet off of the Lion and he reverts back to his old self much like the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow did previously. Finally, the battle between the Freedom Fighters and Mombi and her Ladies Auxillary Brigade is not going so well, leading to one of their members making the ultimate sacrifice so that the rest can escape. Once free, they debate again about spies and such with a plan coming to fruition, one born of desperation as they seek out an army to join them so that they might bolster their ranks in the hopes of overthrowing the Nome King. So while one group looks for men, or monkeys as it were, the other looks to take their fight to the Emerald City. Griffith and Kerr wasted no time in this book, setting a brisk pace and keeping the various plotlines moving without missing a single beat. A great story with artwork that grows on the reader more and more with every issue makes this a title well worth seeking out.

4 out of 5

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