Steam Engines Of Oz Volume 2: The Geared Leviathan by Sean Patrick O’Reilly & Erik Hendrix (graphic novel review).
If there was one word I would use to describe ‘The Geared Leviathan’ graphic novel it is ‘sumptuous’. The layout, artwork and lettering are very well done. As the series title, ‘Steam Engines Of Oz’ suggests, the lands and people of the Wizard of Oz have had a steampunk makeover. This has been tastefully done so as not to completely dominate the story. While using the characters and lands of L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece, this is far away from that depicted in the child friendly film of 1939.
There are some real nasty things in this version. In ‘The Geared Leviathan’, the recently departed (as in killed) Wicked Witch of the West has a final surprise for the people of Oz and its one they won’t like. She had twin daughters who are now returning with just one objective: vengeance! After capturing an inventor’s robot, they set about creating havoc, although one of the sister’s objectives seems to be reaching far beyond mere vengeance. The townspeople gather in one last defiant stand to stop the twin witches. By the way, the witches are easy to spot as they wear pointy hats and have very green complexions. This is something to which the people of Oz that they meet seem to be completely oblivious to.
Most of the main characters that people will remember (Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, etc) are present with the exception of Dorothy, who apparently went home. There are also some new and interesting characters, although this is where things start to break down. I have not had the pleasure of reading volume 1 which provides the back story for a lot of the characters in volume 2. Some of the new characters make fleeting appearances as there are other plot-lines included in this novel but this leaves you thinking who? what? why? as these sub plots are carry-overs from volume 1.
I have no doubt that had I read volume 1 before reading ‘The Geared Leviathan’, I would have got so much more out of this graphic novel. While I enjoyed reading it and the presentation is superb I don’t think it stands as a standalone volume. You really do need volume 1 to get the most out of volume 2. If you can get both volumes then get them. It’s an interesting take on the Wizard of Oz.
(pub: Arcana Studio Inc. 96 page graphic novel. Price: $19.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-77135-206-2)
check out website: www.arcana.com