In Review: Jim Henson’s Beneath the Dark Crystal #12

This conclusion left me feeling unfulfilled.

The covers: Two covers to find if one has to have every part of the Dark Crystal saga. The Regular cover by Benjamin Dewey features Kensho and Nita looking at each happily on a throne made of crystals with Thra behind them. She sits and laughs as she reaches up to touch the hand he’s placed on her shoulder. He stands behind her, his hair as white as the sun that blazes in the sky. The castle has become white crystal and several firelings can be seen below them cheering the rulers. A welcome happy image that might be teasing the conclusion of this series. The Preorder cover by David Petersen was the one I picked up for the character on it. This features Jen sitting and playing his flute as he did in the film. This is tan colored that combines with the Preorder cover of the previous issue that featured Kira. I love that film, so I had to purchase this cover. And check out the killer design of the bag by his side — so cool! Overall grades: Regular B and Preorder A

The story: Adam Smith’s finale has two dangers occurring simultaneously. Underground, The Fire That Stays is attacking the city of the firelings. He wants to turn all to ash as was once done long ago. It’s up to Nita and Thurma to unite their people to stop their destruction. On the surface of Thra, Kensho is being swarmed by those Gelflings affected by the Skeksis’ metal. Black smoke issues from their eyes and mouths and they walk in a zombie-like state to turn others. Kensho does something surprising on Page 7 to cure them, while Nita and Thurma realize their abilities are not enough to stop their foe. There are some neat moments in this conclusion, but nothing surprising. The only thing that was surprising was that after all the obstacles and dangers are thwarted, neither story unites with the other. Yes, the final two pages do have two characters communicate, but it comes off like a tacked on moment. This was a solid conclusion, but one without anything that wasn’t foreseen by the reader. Overall grade: C+

The art and colors: Alexandria Huntington closes out this series with strong visuals. The story underground is beautifully illustrated, with tremendous flowing lines for the structures and characters, especially in their hair and clothes. The colors are breathtaking in oranges and yellows. The blues from The Fire That Stays stands out as a threat to these colors every time they appear. On the surface violets dominate, with the whites and blues of Kensho’s hair drawing the reader’s eye every time they appear. The full-paged splashes that occur on Pages 10 and 11 are outstanding climaxes in each land’s saga. I would follow any other book that Huntington illustrates, I was so impressed with her work on this issue and series. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue yells, sounds, and the two concluding words are what Jim Campbell has contributed to this issue. The dialogue and yells are differed by the size and thickness of each, with the yells enlarged so the reader can better hear the stress of the characters’ speech. There aren’t many sounds in this book, but those that appear are good. Overall grade: A

The final line: After reading every issue of this series I realize that this should have been two separate books with each focusing on one group. Combining the two into one series wasn’t necessary, especially since the title focuses on only one land. I enjoyed reading this, but I was expecting some sort of reunification of the races above and below. That didn’t happen. Again, I did enjoy reading this, but it’s conclusion left me unfulfilled. At least the visuals never disappointed. Overall grade: B+

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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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