In Review: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #10

I'm going to see this series through to the end, but it seems to be falling apart.

The covers: Two different paths to take in your cover choices for this installment. The Regular cover is by Fiona Staples and puts the spotlight on Bunderghast who proudly wears a leader’s hat, a scarf, and bears a sword. The character is on the corner wall of the labyrinth and looks absolutely strong. A leaf is in the foreground to remind the reader of the character’s true size. With the character pink, the green backgrounds make her pop. There’s also the motif of the labyrinth that’s placed atop this image to remind the reader of the title structure. This is a great image of this character. The monstrous Septimus dominates the Preorder cover by Cory Godbey. The horrific creature looms over Beetleglum who holds the baby that Maria wants to save. The tiny pair look to be standing before something toxic due to the yellow and orange light and mist it’s emitting. Outstanding scary cover. Overall grades: Regular A and Preorder A+

The story: This story is by Simon Spurrier, but written by Ryan Ferrier. In the present, Jareth is in a snit because Sara and her allies are getting closer to entering the castle. He takes Toby from Beetleglum and looks into his globes to see where these troublemakers are. Jareth commands the guards be pulled out and Toby hidden. Beetleglum asks if he can take Toby back since he’s been the tot’s caretaker. The Goblin King says no because he cannot be trusted. As goblins run about following orders, the story goes into the past as Maria, Skubbins, Bunderghast, and Tangle, along with their goblin army, are about to face off against the Owl King’s forces. Skubbin doesn’t think he’s up for the battle, but Maria reassures him for how he’s helped her grow and she does the same for Tangle and Bunderghast. The battle then begins in earnest. The Owl King, who has possession of Maria’s infant son, is chomping at the teeth to use the child to allow him to reign eternally. There’s a nice return to the present on Page 11, with Jareth echoing another’s words and a character reflecting on an event in the past. The solution to the goblin battle in the past is perfect. It’s absolutely simple and it absolutely makes sense why it solves all the problems. A large threat returns momentarily on 13 and I hope that there’s still more to come from this character. The speech to the crowd on 15 is good and I’m glad it comes from that particular character. The obstacle that keeps Maria from achieving her goal on 18 is solid. I was extremely surprised by the character that appears on the final two pages. This was a shock! That said, I was overjoyed to see this individual and I have a feeling that Spurrier and Ferrier aren’t done with this person yet. I liked the battle, how it was stopped, and how events in the present seem to be mirroring those in the past, but most of this could have been cut or shortened to move things along. This was an average read. Overall grade: C+

The art: The visuals are by Daniel Bayliss with Irene Flores. They’re fine. Not outstanding, but not horrible. Jareth’s confrontation with Beetleglum is good, with the point of view in the third panel of the opening page nicely showing how the goblin sees his king. The second page is a full page splash showing what the Goblin King sees in each of this magical globes. The images within each are recognizable if one has seen the film, but the line work is really minimal. More detailed images would have made their impact stronger. When the goblins go running about on the third page there aren’t a lot of goblins, making it seem like Jareth has been talking to only five of the creatures. The scenes between Maria and her friends that follow look better. Each character looks good and I like how each gets a moment with the protagonist. The battle is shown on a double-paged spread on Pages 6 and 7. It’s fine, but would have been better had the action been pulled in tighter because the top half of the illustration is a dark city. It’s wasted space. Also not helping are four inserted panels that show the heroes during the battle. Thicker borders would have helped. The three pages involving the Owl King are terrors for how the antagonist is holding the baby, with that third panel on 9 horrific. Sadly, the Owl King is too darkly colored so his visage is difficult to discern. The arrival of the big bad on 13 is great, with the character so immense he can never be completely seen — this is cool! The speech is effectively drawn on 15, though that second panel has a lot of empty space, as if the artists didn’t know how much would be needed. Coming in closer to the characters would have helped. The reveal at the bottom of 18 is fantastic. I’ve never seen horrors like this in any form of entertainment associated with Jim Henson. They don’t fit in with the look of this series, but they are considerable threats. The last two pages feature a familiar face and she looks great! I can only hope that Bayliss gets to illustrate this individual again. Overall grade: C+

The colors: As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the color scheme of the source film isn’t fantastic: tans, browns, and pale colors. Colorist Joana Lafuente does what she can to maintain the core coloring, injecting brights whenever she can. Toby is an eye magnet on his pages because he’s dressed in a white and red stripped onesie. The second page uses blues to highlight the images within the globes and they’re too passive. The third page has the goblins blend into each other too often. This is due to the dark colors they wear and the setting they are in. Thank heavens that Maria has orange hair, fair skin, and a pink-white dress so that she stands out whenever shown. Skubbins is lost in the dark colors and Tangle can only be seen due to the red roses on it. Pages 6 and 7 are a coloring mess — everything is just too darned dark. A lighter background would have been alleviated much of this. The Owl King is too dark in all of his scenes. Yes, these locations are supposed to be dark, but reality in comic book can be changed. The last two pages are also really dark, with the smaller character blending in too easily with the setting. The coloring is hurting this book. Overall grade: D+

The letters: Jim Campbell’s text includes Jareth’s unique speech, dialogue, dialogue from the globes, sounds, Tangle’s unique speech, a large character’s sinister speech, a note’s text, and the three word tease for next issue. I love the three unique speech fonts that further the speakers farther from humanity. The film dialogue that issues from the Goblin King’s globes are in italics, making them look mechanical in origin. The note that’s briefly seen looks like it would originate from the character that wrote it. The three word tease for next issue looks like it’s from a fairy tale, which suits this book. Overall grade: B+

The final line: I’m going to see this series through to the end, but it seems to be falling apart. The story is okay for the message it’s giving, but the art is oddly composed, while the colors obscure the visuals. This was just average. It’s disappointing just for that reason. That said, I want this to at least end well. My fingers are crossed. Overall grade: C+

To order a print copy go to https://shop.boom-studios.com/comics/detail/9166/jim-henson-labyrinth-coronation-10

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Jim-Hensons-Labyrinth-Coronation-10/digital-comic/741853?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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