Review: Legends of Oz: The Scarecrow 1&2

I have been looking forward to this series for a while and I was fortunate enough to be able to check out both parts of the two issue series that reveals a bit more of Scarecrow’s past, but also her species. It’s also the first time that series creator Tom Hutchison hasn’t written the universe as Pat Shand steps in for the mini. I decided to review both issue together because they’re would be much of a difference in opinion about them separately. Overall it’s a great mini-series and I’m glad to see the world expanded upon. I’ve said before in numerous other reviews that I’m not an Oz guy, but I dig this series. It’s the Western aspect for sure, but I’ve also enjoyed the mystery around Scarecrow and why she’s feared by most people. Out of all the characters introduced, I’ve liked her the most. She’s the happiest person in this series and yet when new people meet her they’re frightened. The first page finds Scarecrow freed from her post in a field for the first time. Several other scarecrows are hanging still, but she moves on and begins exploring the world (which is gorgeous looking). Finally she comes across the town of Denslow. The people begin to panic when they see her and this alarms the Sherriff. He comes out with a rifle and shoots Scarecrow’s arm off. She looks confused for a moment and then picks up her arm and runs out of town.

She finds an old barn and begins putting herself back together when she’s paid a visit by a witch. I don’t know which one, is there a blue one? Whatever one wears blue. Anyways the witch touches the Scarecrow and sees her past and future and tells her that she’s special and to basically keep going. Meanwhile, outside is another scarecrow and let’s just call him Capt’n Crazy. His body is part Frankenstein looking flesh and then the rest is bound hay which is very different from Scarecrow. He hears the Witch and after she leaves he goes in and captures Scarecrow. He tells her that she’s not special and that he is because he has a brain, the brain of the sorcerer that made him. See? Coo-coo.

Oz Scarecrow #2-2He throws her in a cellar and there she finds other scarecrows that share a similar design to Capt’n Crazy (without the crazy) and other kidnapped people who are tied up. She begins to save them, but when an injured boy lets out a cry, Capt’n Crazy comes down. Some of the people make it out and some do not, but Scarecrow takes the injured boy as far away as possible. There’s more to the first issue, but I’ll leave it for you to read since it released last week.

In the second issue the story continues with Scarecrow and Capt’n Crazy. Due to the events in the first issue she begins to win over some of the town’s people, but they too become an obstacle she must overcome in order to stop Capt’n Crazy and save the humans and scarecrows alike.

The story is by no means deep, but it is very fun and entertaining. It doesn’t give all the answers to Scarecrow’s past, but it definitely helps explain why she is the way she is. It also establishes the importance of her character which elevates her from a supporting role in the series (if she hasn’t already surpassed it). Shand manages to instill a lot of personality and emotion on Scarecrow, considering that she can’t talk and only has her face and hands to communicate. She’s not quite the zany risk taker she is in the ongoing series, but you can see where that comes from because of this series. Overall, it was a very strong story and really has me eager for more of the ongoing.

While Reno doesn’t quite surpass Borges on the main series, he does a worthy job on the series and manages to capture a lot of the same flair. Reno’s Scarecrow is very cute and he captures a wide range of emotions that the character has, which is huge since we only have the visuals to go off of. While Reno has his own style, he’s a good fit for the universe and Finnegan’s colors play a large role in that as well. Fennegan’s coloring is fantastic as usual and gives the book that distinct Legend of Oz look.

This was a fun two-part series that is definitely worth picking up. I almost would have liked to have seen it as a double sized issue, but it works separately as well. If you’re a fan of the ongoing or you’re looking to start, this is a great series to pick up.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Pat Shand Artist: Carlos Reno Colorist: Kate Finnegan Publisher: Big Dog Ink Price: $3.50 each Release Date: 5/8/13 (1st Issue)