This new version of an oft-adapted work brings little to the table.
Like many classics, The Wizard of Oz has been repeatedly adapted into various graphic formats, among others. With the myriad choices available, each new iteration absolutely must offer something special in order to rise above its predecessors yet still honor its source. Unfortunately, this version has little excitement, falling flat in obvious places where the juxtaposition of narrative and illustration should shine. Dorothy’s arrival in Oz, for instance, is the perfect moment to audaciously burst forth from the drab grays and earth tones of Kansas into a vivid explosion of color. Caldwell's adaptation misses this pivotal moment entirely, only mildly tweaking its dishwater palette. Many of the iconic conventions that define this well-loved story are also conspicuously absent: Dorothy's pigtails, for example, are now long, lank blonde locks held back with a kerchief, more closely resembling Disney's cartoon Alice (of Wonderland fame) than the more familiar likenesses of Dorothy in the original and film versions. With so much imagination behind it, Baum’s work should easily lend itself to this format; however, this take is sadly bland, lacking the visual fireworks that should be there in concert with Munchkins, flying monkeys and enchanted shoes.
Regrettably mediocre. (Graphic classic. 8-12)