Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Friend of Dorothy #2

The first issue of this series came out all the way back in September, so let’s review a bit: the comic is created by Brian Anderson, creator of “So Super Duper,” the relentlessly funny and unquestioningly LGBTQ-positive superhero webcomic. “Friend of Dorothy” is Brian’s newest project — part superhero comic, part tribute to “The Wizard of Oz,” part character study of life for gay teens.

So last issue, our hero, Scott-John, was granted his powers by the shirtless wizard Gorlindo, met his grumpy adviser, a little black dog named Dodo, and fought off an attack by the scarecrow-like Scrows. In this issue, Scott-John learns that his boyfriend Mason also received a visit from Gorlindo and is eager to appoint himself as Scott-John’s sidekick. After they battle another horde of Scrows, Scott-John leads them to Oz and a little candy shop called the Lollipop Guild. Unfortunately, the shop is run by an evil Munchkin, and they’re attacked by the mind-controlling Mankeys. Can our heroes survive these attacks, or are they destined to fall?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s funny and exciting, with solid dialogue and pretty good characterization. I love the way Mason keeps irritating Dodo with his chatterbox tendencies, and the little details about all of Scott-John’s Oz-related weapons. The Mankeys and their mind-controlled victims are really creepy. And I like the relatively low-level of angst on display here — Scott-John and Mason are both out-of-the-closet, and though they may not be entirely happy with how their families may have reacted to their sexual orientation, they don’t let that get in the way of doing what needs to be done, whether that involves hitting bad guys with axes, scolding the increasingly grumpy Dodo about keeping secrets from them, or even just unashamedly expressing their love for each other. They’re relatively badass — kinda giggly badass, but badass nonetheless.

There’s a preview of this issue of “Friend of Dorothy.” And don’t forget to order the full issue, too.

Batgirl #23

The penultimate issue of Bryan Q. Miller’s mega-brilliant series finds Batgirl back in Gotham and discovering that the Reapers have tracked down the Gray Ghost and killed him. He was able to leave a recording warning Stephanie about some of their plans, but she’s already too late to stop a group of the power-suited Reapers — Figment, Miranda, and Jabberwock — from slaughtering a bunch of cops and busting Harmony and Slipstream out of jail. Can Stephanie Brown take these five down solo? Not a chance. Luckily, she’s got some backup. But no, for once, it’s not anyone else from the Bat-family — it’s Supergirl, Miss Martian, Stargirl, and Bombshell. But who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, so very many thumbs up. It’s not just for how awesomely Stephanie is written, or how great the humor and action are. But it’s also so wonderful to see those other four heroines before DC abandons them for their New-’90s Reboot. This is going to be another comic that I’m going to miss a lot.

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Monsters #1

Liz Sherman, pyrokinetic former agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, is hiding out from the BPRD in a little nowhere redneck trailer park. And she’s not fitting in very well. She busts up the jaw of one of the local thugboys and generally gets on everyone else’s nerves. But they all know she’s a badass, rumored to be a secret agent, and when the belligerent Jubal is seen threatening his wife with a shotgun, they come running to Liz to help defuse the situation. But what she finds isn’t anything like what she was expecting.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Love the writing by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, and I love the artwork by Tyler Crook. Outstanding mood and dialogue, and the completely unexpected twist really brought this into the win column. Dagblasted awesome horror.

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