Issue by Issue – Dark Oz #4

Writer – Stuart Kerr, Ralph Griffith
Artist – Bill Bryan
Letters – Gary Bishop & W.A.R. Studios

Called The Beginning of the End, it is indeed just that as the heroes of Oz find themselves under siege by the unrelenting goblin army. Amber Ombi and Lion, fresh off of battling the goblins and defeating them less than a day ago must now pick it up and fight again along with the rest of the Ozzian army. They fight as they know best, with skill and fury and for a bit, they think they might be able to defeat them yet these goblins are bigger, more competent and far more ferocious. Authored by Stuart Kerr and Ralph Griffith, the two have been building to this for some time and it is a doozy of a story as they go to show that nobody is safe from the evil that has invaded the land of Oz. The first to fall which in itself is quite shocking is Amber Ombi who has been a stalwart of the series. He dies the death he always wanted and the death a soldier like him should have – to fall in battle and it brings a tear to the eye. The next, though it happens off-page is Lion and that too is quite shocking. It is hopeful though, that due to not actually being seen, Lion has somehow survived and that he will make a return in the final issue. When word reaches Oz, Queen Ozma has finally roused from her healing slumber and it finds her powers diminished. It is not long before she hears the bad news and it shakes her and everyone else to the core for how long can it be before the goblin army reaches the Emerald City and who will defend it and her after the army has been decimated? Those who write this tale do not stop there though as it cuts to the Wickedest Witch who looks to glean a little information from her captor, the one and only Jinjur who was captured some time ago and for her sake, Jinjur refuses to give up anything, opting to remain loyal and true. Suffice it to say, the witch’s powers are stronger than Jinjur’s silence and she literally sucks the life out of the hero, finding nothing in the process. There was a lot of tragedy in this book and making it look quite spectacular in its sadness was Bill Bryan who pulled out all the stops with some incredible double-page spreads. It is hard to imagine this book getting any better, or worse what with all the dying going on but one has to imagine that with only one issue left to go, the creators are going to pull out all the stops to make it go out with as big a bang as possible. Great stuff all around.

4.5 out of 5

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