Issue by Issue – Oz #0

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

With so much going on in the main Oz title, it was decided that a series of specials would be released on a bi-weekly basis to give readers a glimpse back at what came before, according to the afterward that is. So before Scarecrow, Lion and the Tin Woodman became evil, before Dorothy and the Wizard disappeared and before Ozma was placed in chains, this book finds the land at peace and ready to broker a treaty with Ev, the land ruled by the Nome King. This is a new Nome King though, as the previous one was defeated by Dorothy and Billina though he is much the same and he has come not to sign a peace treaty but to conquer the land of Oz and take Ozma for his wife. Now most readers would think that this would not be an easy thing to do as Ozma is a powerful woman, as are the Good Witches. The Wizard stands at her side and all the heroes of Oz are assembled and ready to fight for her at a moment’s notice. Such as it is though, all of this is for naught and when the Nome King arrives, he starts to make short work of those who stand before him, though he does get a little help from Mombi as well. Serving not only as a flashback but a prequel as well, this issue introduces many of the players that readers have already met in the main book as well as a few of the stalwarts many expected to see like Dorothy and the Wizard. More importantly, this issue goes on to show just what happened to them, at least at first. Writers Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr do not give away everything at first, they only bring the story to a point, concluding it where it makes sense to stop and they leave some mystery yet to be seen, more specifically with Dorothy and the Wizard. Not every Freedom Fighter is shown either but Amber Ombi gets a decent amount of time in the spotlight and it is good to see the man be such a key player in the book. What remains to be seen is just what happens to not only those other main characters but just how far the Nome King took things, what else he did to subvert the land of Oz and what needs to be done to reclaim it. Bill Bryan illustrates this tale as he does the main title and he gets a little help from Randy Zimmerman who does a great job at making Bryan’s pencils pop off the page. The man does a fantastic job at providing just the right amount of detail and his depictions of characters are not only strange at times but somehow right as well and after reading this issue and any others that he has lent his talent to, readers would not have it any other way. A very solid issue that gives readers a taste of what came before and quite possibly a hint of what might be yet to come.

4 out of 5

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