Review: The Steam Engines of Oz #1

After a great FCBD issue to kick off the series, The Steam Engine of Oz returns with what’s technically the first issue of the series. As I said with the zero issue, the thing I like about this series is that it doesn’t focus on what’s already been done with the Oz franchise as whole. This is a world after movie (which is what most people are familiar with) and the original novel as well. Dorothy has been replaced with a young blonde girl and her affinity to fix things. Instead of fixing the gears and machines of the Emerald City, she’s set out to fix Oz itself. After a very useful recap of the FCBD (which you can download for free), we catch up with Victoria and her enlists as they try to escape from the heavily guarded Emerald City. They head down an alley way and escape the guards buy ducking into a shop that one of Phadrig Digg’s friends owns. They fill her and her husband in on their task and figure out where they need to go in order to find Phadrig’s brother… the Wizard. They load up in a false bottom of the husband’s truck and head towards the gate; everything almost works out except for the guard tiger smelling Gromit. Tigers apparently love to eat Munchkins. They barely make it out and then they’re off on their journey… until Victoria gets captured by a pack of Lions that came from the original Cowardly Lion.

SteamEngines_Oz_FCBD_150DPI-1What I enjoy about this story is that it uses elements of the original story, but because it’s based in the future of those events it has the liberty of changing things. Additionally since its steam punk based, the look of the characters is very different, but strangely works with the setting.  You’ll get your first look of the Tin Man in this issue and it’s very different, but very cool.

The writing is still very good as this issue is well-plotted much like the last. It very much feels and read like a direct continuation of the last issue which leads me to believe that they may have been writing in conjunction with each other. If not then the writers captured lightning twice and it’s good. I would have liked a bit more of Victoria in this issue, but I think it’s okay since it established her traveling companions who were a bit of a mystery in the last issue.

The art is at the same level of quality as the last issue continuing to build a lively world. When the group exits the Emerald City you can really feel and see the destruction of the forest and how it’s pushed other societies to the outskirts. The character designs obviously play a large role in the story and frankly, for someone that’s not a huge fan of steam punk, these character look pretty cool. The Tin Man is awesome looking, but then so are the Lions and the Munchkins. They’re fun designs that make the book worth reading.

I’m digging this series and I like this issue. I like that you don’t absolutely have to have read the FCBD issue, but that Arcana is giving you the option to read it if you want. I like where the story is going and I can’t wait to see what the other core cast of Oz characters end up looking like in this reimagined steam punk world. If you’re a fan of Oz this is worth checking out, but obviously if you’re a purist you may have to warm up to it first. If you just like entertaining stories then check it out as well.

Score: 4/5

Writers: Erik Hendrix & Sean Patrick O’Reilly

Artist: Yannis Roumboulias

Publisher: Arcana Studios

Price: $3.99

Release Date: June, 2012