Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth: Volume 1
By Leroy Douresseaux
September 17, 2006 - 13:02

Writer(s): Jake T. Forbes
Penciller(s): Chris Lie
Inker(s): Jeremy Freeman with Robert Grabe, Alex, McCaffrey, Tyler Niccum, and Em Stone
Cover Artist(s): KOUYU SHUREI
ISBN: 1598167251


 When Sarah, upset about babysitting her infant stepbrother Toby, made a wish to the goblins of her favorite book, Labyrinth, to take Toby away, much to her surprise, the goblins miraculously appeared and did spirit him away to Goblin City.  Sarah had to travel into the Labyrinth, and with the help of friends, she outwitted Jareth the Goblin King and reclaimed Toby.  That’s basically the story of the film, Labyrinth.


20 years after the release of the film, TOKYOPOP has joined forces with The Jim Henson Company to produce a manga series based on the beloved film.  In this new tale, we learn that The Goblin King, has kept a watchful eye on Toby with his minions secretly guiding and protecting the child as he grew.  A teenager, Toby notices that when he makes a wish for something, he gets it, but he doesn’t realize that there are legions of goblins working behind the scenes to ensure that he has whatever he desires.


In this way, Jareth has been preparing Toby for the day that Toby would become the heir to Jareth’s throne.  Toby, however, rebuffs Jareth the first time they meet and demands that the Goblin King leave him alone.  Jareth grants his wish, but still sends a goblin to lure Toby into the Labyrinth where Toby will find other rivals for Jareth’s throne and an entire world full of weird and strange characters.


Surprisingly, writer Jake T. Forbes manages to write a story that makes Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth feels as if it belongs in the same world as the movie, which the late Jim Henson directed.  The pacing is certainly similar, as both tend to meander between scenes filled with excitement and/or outlandish creatures.  Chris Lie is a good storyteller and his art is a good cartoon version of the wonderful design work Brian Froud did for the original film, though no one can truly copy Froud’s inimitable style.  Kouyu Shurei’s cover is, however, a wonderful Asian interpretation of the movie’s look.


I think readers will like Return to Labyrinth as much as they did the film.  As an added treat, there is a preview of Jim Henson’s Legends of the Dark Crystal.  TOKYOPOP plans to publish this new manga series, based on the film, The Dark Crystal, sometime in 2007.  Written by comics veteran Barbara Randall Kesel and drawn by Max Kim, this preview, at least, totally captures the spirit of the film.


7 of 10


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