Rating: 5 out of 5 (Perfection!)
Beware the Wheelers! However, you shouldn’t beware of this whimsical and wonderful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s third Oz classic novel. Ozma of Oz, written by Eric Shanower and illustrated by Skottie Young, is a graphic novel written for the young adult audience and everyone who enjoys anything related to the Wizard of Oz. This is the third installment in Marvel’s Oz series. I was quite excited to find this graphic novel due to an assignment for one of my classes in library school. I love anything Wizard of Oz (except the “King of the Forest” song…I fast forward that part of the movie, so annoying) and the idea of making this into a graphic novel sparked my intrigue.
Making their way to Australia on the high seas, Dorothy and Uncle Henry must survive a tumultuous storm that threatens to send them overboard. Dorothy finds herself separated from Uncle Henry and while searching for him she is swept off deck into the stormy sea. She finds a chicken coop to use as a makeshift boat and falls asleep to pass the time. When she wakes, she meets a talking hen named Billina and finally reaches the Land of Ev. Convinced she is “not in Kansas anymore” (considering this hen can talk and only in magical lands can animals talk), she embarks on a journey through this mysterious land to try to find her way back home once again.
My Thoughts: Don’t Mess with Dorothy
This was my first time reading a graphic novel and I have to say I see why they are appealing and addicting. The first thing that caught my eye was the amazing artwork. The illustrations are Tim Burton-esqe invoking an edgy and dark tone, but still colorful and eye pleasing. Due to some of the dark themes and content, such as murder, beheading, and war, the artwork complements the plot providing a seamless and blended reading experience. Graphic novels are mostly artwork and illustration so it is extremely important ensure a continuity between that and the story. This artwork inspired me to create something based on these illustrations which I will begin to work on soon!
The story itself is fun, interesting, and engaging. The quick pace of the story keeps the reader engulfed into the story and allows the reader to finish the book within an hour easily. This is what makes graphic novels so appealing to young adults, because they can be finished quickly and do not need a large time commitment. This graphic novel is great to use to attract reluctant readers and provide them a fun and entertaining story to sink their teeth into. Another great thing about this graphic novel is the character of Dorothy. In the movie, she is polite, proper, and cheery which the graphic novel expands and makes Dorothy a more complex character. In the beginning of the novel, she is scared and dependent upon others; however, she makes a great transformation into an independent and fierce female by the end of the book.
I love this story because it reminds me of the Disney movie, Return to Oz, which is very similar to the plot of Ozma of Oz. The movie translates the dark and sometimes creepy images and themes to life. Return to Oz features most of the characters in Ozma of Oz with addition to characters that are featured in the other Marvel Oz series. Let me just say that this movie is not a typical Disney movie. To a kid, it will be terrifying, especially the characters of the Wheelers. Check out the trailer and see for yourself!
Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel and found it to be a well done adaptation of a literary classic. I highly recommend this book for people who love Oz, artwork, comic books, and graphic novels. Be sure to check out the other books in this series from your local library: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Book 1), The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book 2), and Dorothy & the Wizard of Oz (Book 4). Reading them in order is not necessary because each story stands on its own. There’s no place like home!