Issue by Issue – Oz Special: Lion #1

Writers – Stuart Kerr, Ralph Griffith
Artists – Bill Bryan, Paul Kowalski
Inker – Bradley Walton
Letters – Bradley Walton

This special, much like the Scarecrow one that preceded it, begins with the same sequence of Amber Ombi’s escape from the Emerald City before it becomes its own story featuring the Cowardly Lion, though he is not so cowardly here. The Lion, like his companions, has had his will overtaken by Mombi and turned evil and this story begins with Lion attacking Hungry Tiger. The battle is a ferocious one and Hungry Tiger is no match for Lion and while he escapes, Lion sends his minions out to finish the beast off. For a bit, Hungry Tiger is able to hold his ground but it takes its toll and he lies down to die for there is nothing he can do further. Whether luck or fate, Amber Ombi and Wogglebug happen to come upon him and they save his life. Hungry Tiger being who he is – that being hungry, eats one of those he dispatched earlier and is back in shape to continue on. Writers Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr also give readers a glance at what is happening in the Emerald City with the Nome King and Mombi, of the discord that is running through the city and they know that if they do not quash it now, there could be a problem to their rule going forward. To put this to bed, the Nome King declares that Dorothy will be his wife, much to the shock of everybody in the city and that the new laws of the land will be rolled out sooner rather than later. As for Lion, he is very angry and more bestial than ever, declaring himself the king of the lands that surround him and of all who dwell within them. As for Amber Ombi, Wogglebug and Hungry Tiger, they head off in order to mount some sort of resistance, though the future is highly uncertain. This was yet another good issue, a companion to the ongoing series that takes place in the past during the Nome King’s arrival and his subsequent conquering of the Emerald City. Where the main book takes place in the present, this one looks to see how the Freedom Fighters would come to be and detail the fates of all those involved and so far, with this being the third special in a series of five, they are doing a great job at doing just that. Coming onboard for this story is Paul Kowalski and the man does a great job with the artwork, complementing Bill Bryan’s lines so well that should Bryan have ever left the main book, this is the man who should have replaced him. With another soft cliffhanger that leads into the Tin Man special, this book was another win.

4 out of 5

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