As a classic of children’s literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has been adapted and reimagined numerous times. We’re now four issues in to Angelo Tirotto and Richard Jordan’s retelling, No Place Like Home. Heres Image’s official description of the fourth issue:
“HOME AGAIN,” Part Four
Something evil is brewing under the farm, everyone is dead or dying, and Dee is stuck in the middle of it all. With family secrets out in the open it’s up to Dee to stop the winged monster from killing again, but is it already too late?
This issue finally delivers some answers about the winged monkey that’s been terrorizing Emeraldsville. Unfortunately, the answers are the same as the questions: Why is it attacking specific people? Well, it attacked the same people thirty years ago. Why did it appear after the tornado? It always appears after a tornado. The thing none of the characters ever thinks of is how it relates to The Wizard of Oz, you know, since the movie was playing at the drive-in a couple issues back. Obviously, asking about the movie wouldn’t solve any problems (yet) but none of them even comment on it.
Worse than the characters’ general cluelessness is their lack of likability. Dee in particular has been whiny and unpleasant without the humor or gutsiness that are typically used to counter such faults. Her rote responses to the situations in which she find herself feel mechanical, with no dynamism to draw the reader in.
The saving grace of No Place Like Home is definitely Richard Jordan’s art. It reminds me of Mikel Janin’s work on Justice League Dark, but without the stiffness that Janin’s figures tend to exhibit. The detail and expressions he gives the faces does more to enliven them than any of Angelo Tirotto’s writing, and he turns the flying monkey from an awkward, Ozian joke to a grotesque, terrifying brute.
Books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and others have all been adapted numerous times, but when those adaptations fail to make worthwhile contributions to the mythology, I have to wonder if such new versions are themselves worth it.