Another prequel miniseries comes to an end this week, the cleverly named Dorothy of Oz Prequel. As a rule, movie tie-in comics are not very good, but how did this one fare? Here’s the official description from IDW:
Based on the upcoming animated film Dorothy Of Oz! Building on the celebrated children’s book by Roger Stanton Baum, Dorothy Of Oz will tell the tale of Dorothy’s return to the Land of Oz. But first, read here about what events transpired to necessitate Dorothy’s return, and witness the rise of the Jester!
Denton J. Tipton‘s writing is good, but terribly hampered by the demands of the editors and, through them, the studio (presumably). Tipton spends most of the issue with an extended chase, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion being pursued by the winged monkeys. While this is mostly to kill time, it contains the best writing of the book, as Tipton is able to do his own thing and really have fun with some whimsical dialogue. He also adds some elements from the original movie that make fun Easter eggs without being intrusive.
Once the trio arrives in the Emerald City, everything is devoted to cliffhangers designed to make you see the movie. (Don’t confuse “Dorothy of Oz” with “Oz: The Great and Powerful”. Both are coming out next year.) The Jester sends his monkeys after Glenda, the Scarecrow activates the prism to bring Dorothy back to Oz, and Dorothy herself awakes in the aftermath of a tornado. It’s all left unresolved and readers will need to catch the movie to see how it turns out. While this is par for the course movie tie-in prequel comics, it doesn’t make it okay.
Blair Shedd‘s art is a mixed bag. With the main trio of characters, it’s excellent. They’re extremely fluid, with expressive faces. The Lion in particular smirks and narrows his eyes in a way that makee me want to see more of him. While the winged monkeys also look good (they usually seem frustrated), the human characters are lacking. Glenda (who may not necessarily be human, but you know what I mean), Dorothy, and Dorothy’s family all look stiff and lifeless, more so even that the china doll people we saw a few issues back. It could be a clever move on Shedd’s part to make the more fantastic characters feel more human, but I think that’s reading to much into it.
While the art is good, any pleasure readers might take in the writing is completely destroyed by the shameless plugging of the movie. Here’s hoping that, in the future, Tipton and Shedd can find jobs more worthy of their talents.