‘Jim Henson’s Labyrinth Coronation Vol. 1:’ Trade Paperback Review

Who tells the story of the storyteller? They themselves would weave a most fantastical tale from whence they came, foregoing truth for tantalization and admission for admiration. It's the periphery that speaks plain. An unnoticed blur among the throng. A whisper of a thought. Just another shadow cast on a wall in a castle made for a Goblin King.

As a young woman named Sarah races against time to save her stolen baby brother Toby, he is entranced by the story of another stolen child. A babe named Jareth. A story that begins in the Republic of Venice 1797, where a beautiful, rich, cowardly wretch of a Count abandons and denies his equally beautiful, yet not nearly regal, wife Maria as he begs the fever dream creatures that stir through the cracks in his mind to take away the child he does not dare acknowledge in fear of disappointing his father and ruining his legacy.

Heavy stuff, right?! First few pages in and whew! Consider me hooked, lined, and Henson'd! Before the end of the first issue, I recognized, "This feels like Jim."  Labyrinth Coronation feels like something that would have come out of a 1980s Henson Fantasy think tank. It has the little idiosyncrasies and details that made the original film so wonderful in the truest sense of the word. It's not just the story, it's the way that it's told, a way that creeps up and pulls you in like a tangled vine wrapping around your leg. Speaking of tangled vines, Coronation introduces us to some interesting new friends and some we forgot we ever had. Specifically a talking rose bush and Beetleglum, the goblin who dared speak, "She'll never give up!" respectively. Labyrinth Coronation brought back so many things that I had not thought of in years, but more importantly got me thinking of things I'd not previously considered. Who is Jareth? Why does he choose Toby? More importantly, who chose him? The Owl King? Who's that? Why does he need an heir? Who does his hair? So many questions. That's what a good story does, it doesn't conclude, it opens discussion and speculation about what happens next or what happened first. I went through 3 reads of the collection just to make sure I didn't miss any details or Easter Eggs (There were some.) and rewatched the movie for the umpteenth time to see if I could catch anything else. I did. Sarah's bedroom holds a plethora of hints and clues about characters and the land of the Labyrinth itself, but did you ever notice that Sarah was also into Judge Dredd? It's true. I also caught the husk of a goblin who could play a key position in Coronation. Time will tell. Speaking of time...

Jareth. King of the Goblins. Turner of Time. Crybaby. At least when he was one which, by my math, would make him approximately 190 years old as he tells Toby his tale. Labyrinth Coronation gives us a glimpse behind the curtain of the Dance Magic Maestro himself. It's when he's not in court that he let's down his guard in the slightest ways. More patient than expected, more forgiving. The type of person who would mistake someone's name to be glib, but secretly knows the truth. The truth that he cares. He may call you whatever he cares, but at least he cares to call. Maybe that's something he'll learn from his mother, should she find him. Jareth's mother Maria had spirit and determination enough to get her to the Labyrinth and has set a very high bar on which Sarah must make her mark. Does he see his mother in her? That fire and spirit that burns pure? Perhaps. Maybe he sees her as a hindrance as the Owl King saw Maria. Will Maria find her child with the help of a ragamuffin crew thrust together in a moment of need? Perhaps. Will I be picking up the next issue I can get my hands on? Definitely. Too many questions need answered for me to sleep quietly. Does Maria find him? Can she trust anyone? Does this Owl King raise Jareth to wear tight pants and carry a riding crop? Go grab a candle and we can read in the dark. Together.

You can thank me later...

Creative Team:  Si Spurrier (writer), Daniel Bayliss (artist), Fiona Staples (cover artist)
Publisher:  BOOM! Studios
Click here to purchase.

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