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Book Review: The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West

Updated on October 25, 2011

I loved this twist on a classic.

Imagine, if you will, that L. Frank Baum's immortal children's classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its blockbuster 1939 film adaptation starring Judy Garland have both been turned on their heads: Dorothy wears a wide-brimmed Stetson, sitting astride her faithful horse Toto. The ruby slippers are represented in a red sparkle from her spurs and the stocks of her six-shooters. Welcome to Oz: The Wicked West from Big Dog Ink.

I've already reviewed the first two issues of Big Dog Ink's Critter superhero series, and enjoyed them immensely. This latest offering is a horse of a very different color, but a welcome one. The original Wizard of Oz movie was a staple of my childhood as I think it probably was for most people, so I was excited to see what writer Tom Hutchison, artist Alisson Borges and colorist Kate Finnegan had in mind for it. I was delighted to find that this is yet another great romp of a comic, and a lot of fun for fun's sake.

I could go on about the differences from the original: the flying monkeys as outlaw gorillas, the "tin man" (that's a man with a tin star for a badge, in this case), the fact that the yellow brick road has been plundered by gold thieves...but what's really important here is that it's all so much fun! You recognize things just enough to make you chuckle, and the mixture of Western tropes into the story is done perfectly. There's a bit of violence (ever want to see Dorothy gun down the Wicked Witch's henchmen?), and hints of sex (Dorothy has a pretty nice hourglass figure here, all snugged up in riding breeches and a corset; she also runs across some saloon girls who seem to fancy her) that make this closer to a PG-13 than a G rating, but that's not a bad thing.

If I had one complaint, it would have to be this: For all the artist's skill at rendering everything else, the guns just don't look right. This may be a fantasy world rather than the wild frontier that we know fro a hundred cowboy pictures, but when you're doing a western you have got to get the guns right. We're treated to several closeup shots of Dorothy's six-shooters, and they're not authentic in appearance or proportion. It's a small thing, I admit, but it stuck out in such an otherwise great book.

Overall, this is definitely a series worth picking up. Enjoy!


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Interesting parody of this classic tale.

    • bledsoep profile image

      bledsoep 6 years ago from Olathe, KS

      Yeesh! My apologies to Alisson Borges for the gender confusion. Boy, is my face red!

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      I like a good pastiche. This one sounds like a real twisty twist on the OZ stories. It sounds like it might be worth looking into. Thanks for the info.


    • profile image

      Kim Hutchison 6 years ago

      Thanks for taking a look and for the nice review. Also, you have the distinction of being the first person not to refer to Alisson as she. He greatly appreciated that ;) Very glad you enjoyed the book.

      Kim Hutchison

    • rabecker profile image

      rabecker 6 years ago

      This adaptation sounds interesting. I liked the movie Tin man, that was on Sy-Fy a couple of years ago. I like how some authors are going back and reworking the classics with a modern touch. For example pride and prejudice and zombies.