Rating: 2/5 – 1st issue held back by poor pacing
Zenecope has forged a nice shared universe thing for themselves merging together thing like Neverland, Wonderland, apparently the world of Myst if the inside of the front cover is any indication, and now Oz.
That’s a potential strength for people who are “all in” on the Zenescope books catching up on all the nuances of the shared characters popping in from other books. It’s a potential barrier to entry for someone picking this up and expecting a simple Oz-oriented tale. While not explicitly mentioned in this issue, I get the feeling from the inside front cover that this is going to be either crossing over with or relying heavily on Zenescope folklore related to the other “realms”, so it’s not really a standalone story in that respect. I was reading #1 and already felt behind the curve in what I need to know.
We start out with 4 pages of setup with a mysterious character that I have a feeling could have been covered in at most 2 pages. But we spend 4 pages there so it’s page 5 before we get to our heroine Dorothy, clad in Daisy Duke shorts, cowboy boots and a tied-off midriff baring top showcasing her extremely large chest. I’m not naive, featuring heroines that are hot girls is pretty standard for Zenescope. The issue I have is the story beat we meet her on, Dorothy inexplicably playing matador with a huge bull (identified in the voice-over as a “family pet”) who attacks a guy who comes along and falls into the bull pen. This sequence goes on for 6 pages and I can’t help but think the point Joe Brusha was trying to make about Dorothy having an inner reserve of power could have been made in 1 page and the other 5 pages could have been used to advance the story.
The art by Rolando di Sessa and Glauber Matos is good, but it’s not good enough to get me past a story that seems long on random story beats and setup and short on characterization and explanation of what is actually going on. There were far too many pages in this issue that I didn’t think really advanced the story or conveyed any essential information. They were just “there”. The pacing in this issue was off, there were 24 pages of story that felt like 16 or less. We could have gotten well into Oz and introducing some of the other main characters & points of conflict all within this #1 issue. As it stands, I was not left with a compelling desire to read #2.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – firstname.lastname@example.org
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