Rating if the Book Were a Movie: PG-13
Writer: David Pepose
Artist: Ruben Rojas
Colors: Whitney Cogar
Letters: DC Hopkins
Cover: Ruben Rojas
Story: 4.6 Stars
Artwork: 4.1 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.9 Stars
Dialogue: 4.2 Stars
Mechanics: 4.6 Stars
Editing: 4.2 Stars
About the Book:
We are all familiar with the tale The Wizard of Oz. In that story Dorothy Gale finds herself being whisked away from Kansas to Oz by a tornado. In Oz she makes friends during her journey to get home to Kansas. Along the way Dorothy also vanquishes the Wicked Witch of the West, who had been terrorizing the citizens of Oz. When Dorothy and the wizard departed the Scarecrow, by virtue of his intelligence, was installed as ruler of Oz.
The O.Z. begins some 80 years later. Dorothy is not long for the world. Time has caught up to her. Her granddaughter, also named Dorothy, is the focus of this epic adventure. The younger Dorothy served in Iraq for the U.S. Armed Forces. Upon completion of her tour she came home to Kansas; but never felt at home.
One night Dorothy is in her truck when a tornado strikes. The truck is caught in the funnel cloud. When it crashes back down Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore. She’s in the magical land of Oz. This isn’t the same Oz that her grandmother described. It’s now the Occupied Zone (The O.Z.).
In the span between her grandmother’s departure and Dorothy’s arrival there have been some changes. Over time, the Scarecrow became power hungry. With his intelligence, he taught himself how to perform magic. He’s a tyrant that rules Oz.
Scarecrow’s aspirations are too big for being content with ruling Oz. He wants to rule everything. In the multiverse. To do that he needs the magic slippers. The ruler of the Animal Kingdom knows where they are. Can Dorothy and the Tin Man convince him to reveal their location after the way Scarecrow betrayed his trust?
I spent a lot of years living with my grandparents growing up.Grandma grew up during the depression. When she was about six years old she saw The Wizard of Oz and it captured her imagination. Her passion for it rubbed off on me. Because of her I love musicals and any stories that have anything to do with Oz.
The O.Z. first came onto my radar at Rose City Comic-Con in 2021. Mr. Pepose’s table was one that I made a pit stop at. We discussed Scout’s Honor while I looked at some of the other titles he had at his table. The first issue of The O.Z. caught my attention and it came home with me. I read it that night and was eager for more.
The sophomore issue of The O.Z. doesn’t disappoint. We get a very compelling story that is easy to fall into. It has plenty of action while consistently giving the reader nuggets of information that add more depth to the story.
What really caught my attention was how Mr. Pepose was able to allow the reader to see the psyche of a combat soldier that has seen too much misery. “Every day I wonder if we’re doing the right thing.” This thought has crossed the minds of countless soldiers who find themselves in battles that truly have no winners.
I liked how this cover was done. Usually you don’t get embossed books in a Kickstarter campaign without a significant price bump. Moreover I love how relevant the cover is to the story. After Scarecrow’s treachery the Lion is not taking chances with anyone. He’s already lost too much.
Not to be outdone, the interior artwork says, “Hold my beer”. We get 46 pages of outstanding line work and wonderful coloring. While I was very fond of all the panels starring Jack Pumpkinhead, my favorite thing to see was “Yellow Brick Roadkill” scrawled on Dorothy’s helmet.
As a geek on a budget I highly recommend The O.Z. It’s the best thing to come out of Oz since Wicked. This is an intense, entertaining story that leaves the reader wanting more.
You can get your copy of The O.Z. at: