In Review: Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Under the Spell #1

These stories will quickly place a reader under their spell with joyful warmth and humor.

The covers: A threesome of frontpieces to tickle your fancy. The Regular cover is by Rebekah Isaacs with colors by Dan Jackson and has Sarah racing after a bubble that contains an image of her brother Toby. Behind her, to her right, is Hoggle and Ludo. To her left is Sir Didymus riding Ambrosius. Behind all is the Goblin King Jareth, sporting a slight smile as he releases more bubbles to occupy this group while in the labyrinth. Great looking characters colored perfectly. The Preorder cover by Reichey Beckett is a wraparound cover that features Sarah leading Ludo by the hand onto some rocks. The back features Hoggle and Didymus and his mount following close behind. Exceptional artwork on this one, with the line work amazing. The colors are very dark though, with brown and tan being the primary hues. I like this, it’s the cover I purchased, but I would really like to see this in black and white. The final cover is the Variant by Jeremy A. Bastian and what isn’t on this cover! It resembles a piece of classical artwrok featuring all the characters, major and minor, with texts all around it. This is poster material! Overall grades: Regular A+, Preorder B, and Variant A

The stories: The first of three stories is the twenty page tale “The Eternal Tournament” by S.M. Vidaurri. This has Sir Didymus hearing of a tournament of which he wishes to partake. Once in the contest he realizes that the odds are stacked against him for a very strange reason. This is a neat tale of honor, truth, and not being afraid to do your best. It was also funny and very sweet. The brave knight would be proud of this tale. “En Guard!” by Sina Grace is half the length of the first tale, focusing on Hoggle who is guarding the armory and cleaning others’ armor. He is greeted by a strange individual who is going to unintentionally change his life. The reasons for Hoggle’s rough demeanor are revealed as well as why he’s doing what he’s doing when he first meets Sarah. Not funny, but some neat moments from the unique individual. “No!” by Michael Dialynas is also ten pages and it’s the strongest story of the three, chronicling the story of a goblin named No who was abused to no end by his peers until he got a very deviant itch. The ending is fantastic and the speaker that appears on Page 8 is outstanding. I would love to see much more of Dialynas’s stories. Overall grades: “The Enternal Tournament” A, “En Guard!” B+, and “No!” A+ 

The art: Sarah Webb is the artist on the first story and the story is looser than one may be use to seeing in a comic book. Characters and settings are easy to distinguish, but the visuals remind me of Scholastic stars Raina Telgemeier and Kazu Kibuishi. The characters are cute, even if they are goblins, and the expressions they give are endearing. Jareth is very cartoony in his scenes, but looks okay. It’s also impossible not to smile at the visuals when Sir Didymus smiles. Boya Sun is the artist on the next tale and this is the most attractive I’ve ever seen Hoggle; he’s lost most of the crust and crags that his face had in the film. It took me several panels to realize that it was him I was looking upon. The creature that appears is wonderful, with an even better surprise by the end of the tale. Jareth is also in this tale and I was very pleased with how Sun made the Goblin King look — very clever and doubly cool. The artist on the final tale is Michael Dialyans and his work is incredible. The goblins look great, the settings are incredible and No is just flat out a fantastic character that looks exactly as though he came from the film. The goblin that seeks No out at the end of the story is wonderful, while the narrator of the last three pages is fantastic. I would pay big bucks to see an entire issue illustrated by Dialyans. Overall grades: “The Enternal Tournament” A, “En Guard!” B, and “No!” A+

The colors: “The Eternal Tournament” is colored by Laura Langston. There’s a terrific combination of bright and dark colors on this book, but nothing so dark as to frighten younger readers. I love the yellows and tans on Mariell and the violet skies used for the night. Didymus is an eye catcher for every panel he appears for the bright crimsons in his clothes. Boya Sun colors his own work on “En Guard!” and the they are just too pale for me. Stronger colors might have made elements of the art pop, but everything is just too muted, even for the Labyrinth. Like Sun, Michael Dialynas colors his own work on “No!” and his pages look sensational. The perfect combination of dark and light colors have elements of the artwork standing out. And I love the coloring on the final speaking character. Overall grades: “The Enternal Tournament” A, “En Guard!” B-, and “No!” A+

The letters: The sole letterer for the book is Jim Campbell who creates story titles and credits, announcements, dialogue, sounds, Jareth’s speech, goblin speech, narration, and the unique font of the book’s final speaker. I love when different fonts are used for characters’ dialogue because it makes them unique sounding, even though the reader is only hearing the speech in their mind. Jareth, the goblins, and the final speaker have very fanciful fonts that match their fantastical characters. The story titles and credits look as though they’ve come out of a fairy tale which perfectly suits these stories. Overall grade: A

The final line: These stories will quickly place a reader under their spell with joyful warmth and humor. The visuals are fanciful, though the final tale looks extraordinary. This is a must own for all fans of Labyrinth and is a good jumping in point for those thinking of checking out the comic book tales of this franchise. Overall grade: A-

To order a print copy go to https://shop.boom-studios.com/comics/detail/9060/jim-henson-labyrinth-under-spell-1-main

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Jim-Hensons-Labyrinth-Under-the-Spell/digital-comic/724112?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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