Fairy tales retold are some of the most common topics in comic books, but it’s rare to find one that works at all levels of storytelling. The Wizard of O2 is a familiar but unique take on the genre - a type of double subversion that comes out of the left field.
The Wizard of O2 is a more mature take on a classic story but it still projects a level of innocence at every junction. This all-ages Australian comic is not only compelling, it also gives you a sense of hope altogether. I might as well get it out of the way: it’s perfect.
The Yellow Brick Road: The Story of O2
The Wizard of O2 is an Australian comic book published by Truth Dare Media. The story is written, lettered, and edited by Quentin D. Young. In the art department, Jean Lins handled everything, from pencils, inks, colours, to the cover art.
The story of Wizard of O2 follows Dolores - a little girl and the child of a climate scientist based in Greenland. As she gets in trouble for playing around with valuable research subjects, she eventually gets swept by a tsunami, only to find herself in the land of Oz.
As she finds out, this is not the Oz she always read from the books, but rather a technological dystopia where people are fueling their exoskeletons with charcoal and fossil fuels.
As Dolores displays a level of genre-savvy thinking, she goes on a forced mission to help the Wizard stop his citizens from killing the environment. By doing so, she can stop the loss of oxygen and halt the production of carbon(ara).
Beautiful and Innocent: The Writing of Wizard of O2
The Wizard of O2 is a surprisingly well-written story with a coherent plot, strong characterisation, and logical character development. It’s as perfect as it can be for a comic book, offering one of the most wholesome adventures I’ve read.
The story takes much from L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, from Emerald City to all the deuteragonists. Of course, with all the adapted elements come a strong original story that pays homage to this classic tale.
Quentin Young’s writing for O2 is impeccable. There are zero plot holes to find and no niggles either. His characterisation of a young child in Dolores is as realistic as it can be - playful, innocent, and curious, complete with naughtiness here and there.
Young was also sure to prevent any extant parody of Wizard of Oz, rather using it merely to evade the need to do complicated worldbuilding. Even then, he injected his own - even with an entirely different Aesop by the end.
It’s a beautiful, wholesome story, reminiscent of Disney tales. Some parts of the comic book, for example, reminds me of Wall-E and how he connected with the last people of humanity.
Pixar-Grade: The Art of The Wizard of O2
The perfect story of The Wizard of O2 extends far into its art. Everything that Jean Lins added into the story is excellent. Their unique style, use of colour, and even the story’s pacing are worth ten times the sticker price for the comic.
The first thing I noticed about O2’s art is the character design. Dolores, at first glance, has all the cuteness and innocence that a child protagonist should have. She looks like someone you want to care for, but at the same time you know how curious she is.
You can see all the emotions she has with stupendous clarity. You can see the glint in her eyes when she discovers new things and the sadness when she’s in trouble.
The background art is also unbelievable. I admit that most of the pages are of Pixar quality or higher, and even if I’m the type of fan who enjoys hyperviolence and sci-fi stories, I’ll have zero qualms buying this.
Should You Read The Wizard of O2?
The Wizard of O2 is one of the most beautiful tales I’ve read among Indie comic books - both old and new. It deserves more than its sticker price, and it should receive more support. People need to do more of these stories, and the duo of Quentin Young and Jean Lins have a bright future ahead. Should you read The Wizard of O2? Yes, it’s perfect.
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