If the Boogeyman didn't scare you when you were a young child, his countenance and demeanor in this story will certainly make up for lost time. Although he is only in the story for a total of two pages - and only visible for a handful of panels -– this antagonist is every bit as sinister as Maleficent and as treacherous as Voldemoort. Raicht, Smith, and Wilson continue to bring an amazing story to readers in this second issue of "The Stuff of Legend."
Following the lead of Max, a young boy's prized teddy bear, some toys have ventured into the Dark to rescue their lost owner –- the young boy. Fighting alongside Max are a half dozen other toys and a puppy. Together, the group comes upon the city of Hopscotch, an Oz-like dystopian society ruled by a mayor (who at first blush bears a striking resemblance to Uncle Pennybags –- the Monopoly guy -– but upon further scrutiny seems to be more a cross between Moneybags and Colonel Sanders) who wields the Rulebook with impunity.
Given the nature of this tale, and the certain peril all toys face –- especially in the presence of a puppy -– this story kept me on edge, riveted to my seat and unable to even comprehend the world around me. The faded storybook design work that accompanies Wilson's phenomenally detailed artwork is engrossing. The combination takes the story to a completely different level of enjoyability and envelops the reader with a senses-numbing immersion.
This story originally struck me as having themes and concepts similar to "Toy Story," but with a twist. Now I see this tale receives inspiration not only from "Toy Story," but also from "The Wizard of Oz," "Harry Potter," mythology, and more. This story breathes with a life of its own, defying comparisons as easily as they are made by the most skeptical reader.
Of all the titles I have reviewed for Comic Book Resources, this one has been the one I point back to the most when asked what book I enjoyed more than expected. I have recommended this title, and with this issue, I implore you to find this story for yourself. It is densely packed with stunning artwork, innovative characters, and a sense of wonder not unlike the feeling induced by a first viewing of "The Wizard of Oz" or the opening of a much-anticipated birthday gift. I've been lucky enough to get my hands on the first two issues and eagerly await more.