REVIEW: Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow #2

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We all know the story of “The Wizard of Oz” but what if the story took place in the Wild West? Legends of Oz: The Wicked West gave us that story. Now, Big Dog Ink is releasing a mini-series starring the Scarecrow. Major Spoilers looks at the second issue to see what it’s all about.

Legends of Oz_coverLegends of Oz: The Scarecrow #2
Writer: Pat Shand
Artist: Carlos Reno
Letterer: HDE
Colorist: Kate Finnegan
Editor: Kari Castor
Publisher: Big Dog Ink
Cover Price: $3.50

Previously in Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow: Taking place before the original Legends of Oz mini, the Scarecrow wants to be free. She travels to the town of Denslow where scarecrows are feared and unwelcome. There, she runs into an evil scarecrow that is kidnapping the residents for their parts in an attempt to become human. The Scarecrow rescues the hostages but the town is ready to destroy all scarecrows.

A NICE INTRODUCTION

I haven’t read the Legends of Oz: The Wicked West so I was a little hesitant to read this story starring the Scarecrow. Would I be lost? Did I need to know what took place before? The answer, thankfully, is no. Though there are characters I’m unfamiliar with and a recap at the beginning with some information about the Scarecrow would have helped new readers get acclimated, by the end I felt no need to have read the previous story. We see our young protagonist before The Wicked West in a nice self-contained story of her plight with the residents of Denslow and the evil scarecrow out for parts. I loved the setting and the fact that the Scarecrow is a young, Native American female. There have been numerous versions of the classic tale but I’ve yet to see one like this. It’s a nice change, breathing new life into a story told many times before. There are scarecrows other than our protagonist no longer wanting to be “puppets” and longing to be real. While I liked this change, it concerned me that it would make the Scarecrow less special. But as we learn at the end, she has done great things and will continue to be unique. There are a few problems. Denslow’s discrimination of scarecrows and their desire to suddenly destroy them was a little drastic, considering one just saved many of them. It’s also not clear who the villain of the story is and where he came from (unless that’s in The Wild West series). Still, Shand gives us a wonderful story with great ideas while never tarnishing the original tale. It’s a nice look at the character and gives insight into her feelings and motivations that will come into play later in her life. Only being two issues long makes for a brisk story and never seeming drawn out. Though reading Legends of Oz: The Wicked West isn’t necessary, by the end of this issue, I’m eager to.

COMMUNICATING WITHOUT WORDS

Carlos Reno had a difficult task with this story. How do you show a character’s thoughts and feelings when they can’t talk? He succeeds wonderfully. At no point was I ever confused as to what the Scarecrow was trying to say and her facial expressions are drawn well enough to convey emotion. Certain panels have strange shapes, some behind characters as a background and many times characters are coming outside the borders making this a fun reading experience. Some of the faces seem off at times and many of the backgrounds are either white or a gradient but it’s never bothersome because the art tells the story so well I almost didn’t notice.

BOTTOM LINE: MAKES ME WANT MORE

Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow succeeded in not just telling a great self-contained story but also making me want to read the original series. There are changes here that are original and never ruin the classic. With some great art and only two issues long, it provides a nice, short story with insight into the Scarecrow character. Now I just have to track down those original issues…Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow earns 3 out of 5 stars

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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