The premise may have started with the tiniest inspiration of The Wizard of Oz but the first issue shows that we will be getting a completely different story filled with mystery and suspense.
It's always a good thing to read a new comic series. It's even better when the series manages to pull you in unexpectedly. With a title like NO PLACE LIKE HOME and the opening pages set on a farm during a tornado in Emeraldsville, Kansas, you have an idea where this story might go. But then the story goes someplace else.
The story focuses on a young lady named Dee. We see Dee returning home after being away from five years. Let's make it clear, Dee is not the Dorothy we know or might've been expecting. Having lived in LA, she returns home after the (mysterious?) death of her parents smoking, wearing a short skirt and talking of tattoos and piercing. The appearance of Dee might be a little stereotypical but it's great in that it makes it clear, practically screaming at you, that this is going to be a different take on the story.
So far the story has more of a slight horror feel than the fantasy elements of Wizard of Oz. I've avoided looking into what the solicits say for the next couple issues because part of the fun is not knowing where this series is going to go. Will this be set in reality or will Dee (and possibly her friend Lizzie) go off to a magical world known as Oz. What really happened to her parents? What's the story with that dude harassing everyone in town?
This is all what makes it a great first issue. The story is set up, characters are introduced and there are enough questions to grab your attention and arouse your curiosity. Angelo Tirotto does a great job presenting everything and Richard Jordan's art with Paul Little's colors are perfect. It's been made clear that this isn't just another Oz story and we should be getting some pleasant surprises.
I'm not the biggest Oz expert but I feel there should have been some more ties to fully illustrate the parallels between this story and the original. Dee's real name could be Dorothy. That's great. Her last name is given as Hamilton instead of Gale (or at least her parents' last name is given). There's a little dog belonging to her friend Lizzie whose name is Terry. Is this supposed to be Toto?
These are obviously minor complaints.
I've never been the biggest Wizard of Oz fan but the current Oz books from Eric Shanower and Skottie Young have made me a fan. With this series by Angelo Tirotto and Richard Jordan, it's immediately made clear that this isn't just another take on the story. Tiny elements are taken from the original but from the first couple pages you'll know this is a different story. The main character, Dee, is far from the young and innocent Dorothy we might be expecting and the darkness that is seeping beneath the surface of her hometown will be enough to get you hooked. It's a good thing to take a chance to try a new series and it's great when that series delivers. This isn't The Wizard of Oz and it's a good thing that it's not being presented that way. NO PLACE LIKE HOME is off to a great start. It's hard to say where the series is going but I definitely want to see what happens next.