Ozma of Oz #8

“Ozma of Oz” #8 wraps up yet another beautiful and successful Oz mini-series adaptation by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young.

In this final issue of the mini-series, Dorothy is able to defeat the Nome King by using his magic belt against him. With the King defeated, all of our heroes, including the Ev characters Dorothy and Ozma came to rescue, return to their homes triumphantly. Initially they think they’re missing the Tin Woodsman, which puts a damper on the whole “triumphant success” of the expedition, but he’s found and all is well. After their return, Dorothy spends time in Oz with Ozma as she searches for a way home. Eventually Ozma uses the belt to return Dorothy to Kansas, and a magic mirror will help them signal whenever Dorothy would like to return to visit. Billina, wise chicken that she is, opts to stay in Oz where the food is extra delicious (and she can speak).

Shanower and Young continue to be a strong creative team, playing nicely on one another’s strengths, giving the book exactly what it needs when it needs it. You can’t ask them for much more than what they’re doing in this issue, but in truth, it’s a bit of a thankless task, as there’s just too much material to wrap up in too little time. While the first half details the end of our heroes adventure, the second half has to work mostly as an epilogue of sorts to get Dorothy home and tie up all the loose ends. I’d be hard pressed to think of another way for Shanower to tell the story he needs to tell, though. It’s just the reality of adaptation, and sometimes it doesn’t work in your favor. The issue still reads as a delightful end-piece to the series, however, thanks in part to Young’s always beautiful work, that is a delight to experience even when operating as a glorified epilogue.

Young’s work here is for the most part much less exciting than in prior issues, again thanks to the story limitations. Even with those limitations, every panel delights in its execution. Beautiful, expressive, full of energy, and easy to follow, the book delivers artistically in every way a reader could hope. Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colors complement Young’s work perfectly, providing a layered and complex palette for a story that is both light and dark, just as Oz itself.

Children and adults the world over are lucky comic fans indeed to have Shanower and Young doing these exceptional adaptations. They’re the kind of comic books that could make you a fan of comics for life, no matter what age you are.

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