Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation Volume 3 concludes the story of Maria, mother to Jareth, future Goblin King. With her rag-tag crew of Labyrinthian cohorts, she yearns to save her child from the current ruler, The Owl King - a cold, calculating and callous villain the likes of which have been seen for far too long in the castle beyond the Goblin City. Having deprived Maria of her baby under the false pretense of raising him as an heir proves just another trick in the court of lies the Owl King rules. It's good to be the king. That's what we've been told to believe and who's to argue? Not you, my fine friends. 'Tis but for the storytellers to say.
True to form, Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation Volume 3 succeeds again in capturing the attention of fans of any familiarity to the world of Labyrinth. The true brilliance of the limited series is that it draws the reader into the world, telling them just enough to appreciate on its own merit and periodically calling back to the 1986 classic film with images and inside references for those in the know. It's the little details you recall the first time you noticed something subtle from the film that made its way into Coronation that captures the eye. Alternatively, you could read it fresh faced to the world of goblins and masquerades and get so wrapped up in the tale that you put a pin in it and dash to watch the source material.
The design team created a stellar world thanks to their diligence in making the details of the Labyrinth a character unto themselves. There's an irregular ebb and flow to the Labyrinth that breathes both advantageous and disastrous results at the most (in)appropriate of times. Surprises arise from every direction, not the most obvious, and to that I give kudos. The characters are still as fresh as issue #1 and drew you in more than you thought they could at such a late point in the game. None grabbed my interest and heart so much as the goblin Beetleglum, defacto wetnurse to both stolen babes, first Jareth and then a lifetime later the child Toby, who was stolen from Sarah - sister, babysitter, and heroine with a curfew. The beauty of Beetleglum is his instant recognizability from the film and immediate concern for the child. You can point out multiple other goblins, but Beetleglum is one of the ones that sticks out in your memory from his character design and line in the song, "Magic Dance," but hearing the yearnings and hopes from an ancillary character such as he puts a spin on the familiar trope of a one-note flunkie.
In 12 issues, the character development is astonishing, weaving childhood recollections to stories you never thought to ask. It's like they say, "Your parents weren't always your parents," which proves truer than true in the Labyrinth. The character growth is so compelling that you end up rooting for the heroes AND those you know are the "baddies," because 95% of those are misinformed underlings who wish nothing more than to eat, drink, and merrily harass each other in good goblin fun. The other 5% are trying to either destroy a child or save one. Still, it's fun to see a "bad" goblin and a "good" goblin go at it and root for both. Flip a coin to decide the winner, but it sure as all Hoggle is fun to watch. The rescue squad's stories end up not with conclusions, but potential beginnings for other tales. Those of the worm Cible (a.k.a. Bunderghast the Invincible), Skubbin the goblin knight "son" of the Owl King, and Tangle the prickly bush all come to fruition during the wrap up of the story, which could be well worth another descent into the world of the Labyrinth, especially when you find out the next part of Jareth's tale, which would be a grand story indeed. For another time . . .
Not to give it all away like a cheap date, but I'll say this: Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation Volume 3 concludes like good love making or Olympic Gymnastics: flawless executions, exciting finish, and then a warm cuddle. Just not with a talking rose bush.
If you're a curious Henson fan or already engrossed in the trials of Maria, Jim Henson's Labyrinth: Coronation Volume 3, which collects issues #9 - #12 is a must read. Pick it up and enjoy, even if you're only in it for the pictures.
You can thank me later...