Issue by Issue – Oz #16

Writers – Stuart Kerr, Ralph Griffith
Artist – Tim Holtrop
Inker – Bradley Walton
Letters – Susan Dorne

A new era in Oz begins as Ozma becomes queen once again and things finally start to go back to normal now that the Nome King is no more or at least, no longer present in the land of Oz. Not everything is as it should be though as most of the Wizard’s magical items have gone missing and that which kept Oz from prying eyes is gone as well. Now Oz is vulnerable to other worlds should they wish to invade and not only does the Wizard bring this to Ozma’s attention, but Amber Ombi has also been telling her of various dangers. Together, the two of them are petitioning her for a standing army, something Oz has never had but seems to need now. Just because the Nome King is gone does not mean that the dangers to Oz have faded away either and while Ozma is reluctant, believing that things should simply go back to the status quo, they manage to convince her that it is in everyone’s best interests for this to happen. Elsewhere, the Quadlings and the Goblins look to forge a new alliance and it is a strange one for sure. The Goblins, who have been exiled to the farthest reaches of Oz now look to make a stake in the land as the last ten years under the Nome King have loosened things up a little and the Quadlings have decided not to align themselves with Ozma any longer, believing that they stand stronger on their own. The Goblin King himself has come to seek this alliance and should it happen, it will mean that an enemy of Oz will be one step closer than it previously was. What this means is unknown at the moment but it cannot be any good and with an unnamed threat still lurking in the shadows, it should be interesting to see just how those in the Emerald City are going to deal with all of it when things come to a head. Ralph Griffith and Stuart Kerr continue to craft a fine tale though this issue was a little slower in pace than the previous fifteen as there was no conflict to be had, the two merely providing the steps leading up to whatever the next threat might be. As for the artwork, Bill Bryan is gone as is his signature style, which defined the characters and the book and coming on board is Tim Holtrop, who could not be further removed from what Bryan had established. If there is one word that would describe Holtrop’s work in the book, it would be simplistic but that is not saying it was terrible as it was not, it was simply different and will take time to get used to. All in all, a decent chapter that will hopefully lead into the next big story.

3 out of 5

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