Issue by Issue – Oz Special: Freedom Fighters #1

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

This final special by Stuart Kerr, Ralph Griffith and Bill Bryan begins in nightmare as Amber Ombi believes himself captured by the enemy. That enemy comprises the three Evil Kings of Oz, specifically Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion along with the witch Mombi and nightmare it is as they torture him both psychologically and physically, the latter perpetrated by Lion. Just when it seems like he is about to die, Amber Ombi awakens and sadly, the reality is little better than the dream as he is still a fugitive and the Nome King remains in power. It is at this point that the Freedom Fighters become just that with their first official meeting, led by Wogglebug who lays it all out for all those assembled. Resistance is talked of and so are those they once called friends and defenders, that being Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man and while some of them call for their destruction, others including Amber Ombi know that they are under the spell of Mombi and not necessarily responsible for their actions. That being said, they are going to have to do what they have to in order to reclaim the land from the Nome King. Such as it is though, they have information that General Jinjur is going to rally the forces of the Good Witches and attack before the Nome King can fully get his people into final position. This leads to them thinking it will be a good idea to join Jinjur so that perhaps the bolstered army might retake the Emerald City and restore things to the way they were previously. As Griffith and Kerr wind things up, there is no happy ending for any of the characters in this book nor was it expected, at least not for the most part. There is always that glimmer of hope but given that this was a prequel to the events that take place in the main book, one knows that all of the players in this game are at war and that the stakes are life and death, or even worse, an eternity as a trinket in the Nome King’s collection. As a whole, this series of specials showed just how the Freedom Fighters came together and what the Nome King and Mombi did to consolidate their power in the Emerald City, at least for the most part. Of course, the authors of these tales could have included a little more than there was and it would have been great but overall, these issues did what they were meant to do and by all accounts, with some very solid artwork, made it into the win column.

3.5 out of 5

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