In Review: Labyrinth: Coronation #8

The arrival of a warring party increases the tension and has Maria going to an unexpected location.

The covers: Two different covers to find it you’re able to get past the goblins. The Regular cover is by Fiona Staples and features Maria being protected by Sir Skubbin and Tangle. They’re surrounded by several goblins, waving banners and causing general bedlam. This is a nice action image that summarizes a key point in this issue. The colors have the eye latch onto Maria because of her bright colors and then Tangle for its greens and reds. Skubbin and the goblins glom together because of the their colors and and background. Decent. The Preorder cover by Sana Takeda has a surprising image of a fairy flitting up before Tangle, the living rose bush. The fairy is the largest image on the cover, with her before an image of the M.C. Escher stairs from the end of the film. Tangle is only shown in the lower left corner, extending a branch toward the tiny creature. Very pretty, though this doesn’t occur anywhere in this issue. Overall grades: Regular B and Preorder A-

The story: Cible the worm has launched herself into the throng of goblins. They’re happy to see her because they believe she’s heralding the arrival of Bunderghast, who is rumored to start a revolution against the Owl King. When Cible claims to be their savior, they turn on her, until the little worm says that she brought a wizard with her — Maria. They demand to see some magic or “We’ll eat you — and the worm!” Not happy with this turn because it’s delaying her from finding her son, Maria produces her piece of chalk and draws a semicircle on the ground which opens up, creating a gap between her and her friends and the goblins. The magic proven, the goblins accept Cible’s claim to be Bunderghast. While Skubbin and Tangle try to deal with the friendly goblins, Cible and Maria have a moment with the human bucking up the worm’s spirits. If only they’d kept track of their friends, because one of them is commanded to do something wrong. There’s a brief interruption of the story by Jareth interjecting himself into Toby’s wailing, but after two pages Maria’s story resumes. There’s a great surprise on Pages 12 and 13, creating some tension into the story and Maria having to make a choice. There’s a great arrival on 16 of a familiar face that leads to a shocking appearance on 17. The dialogue from the characters on this page is fantastic. Where Maria goes on 18 leads to a terrible setting on 19. Writers Simon Spurrier and Ryan Ferrier end the book with a dramatic reveal that will lead to major trouble for her next issue. The goblins and Cible were okay, but on 12 the book really came alive with things getting serious on 17. This is where I want the book to go. Overall grade: B-

The art: One of the most endearing elements of this book illustrated by Daniel Bayliss with Irene Flores is that familiar characters resemble those from the film. The goblins in their many different forms look familiar, Cible resembles the worm briefly seen in the film, and the final two pages have major echoes from an iconic scene from the film. I appreciate that the artists do this. Readers are most likely picking up this book because of their love for the film and want to have the book resemble that of the film. However, the new characters also look good. Though he is human sized, Skubbin looks as though he walked out of the film. Tangle looks like a Jim Henson creation, with something that sounds simple made utterly charming and beautiful. Not to mention incredibly funny with the first panel on Page 5. I like that the artists take the time to have Maria emote for the reader, with her changing face communicating for the reader where the text does not: Page 4, panel two; Page 8, panels four and five; Page 15, panel five; and Page 17, panels four and five.The partial double-paged splash on 12 and 13 has a teased character finally going into action and he looks great. I also like the characters that accompany this individual when he makes his entrance. The warring forces in the fourth panel that lays on 12 and 13 is terrific in showing how each side measures up to the other. I was really happy with the visual in the fifth panel on 13, which shows that one character is not as powerful as had been hinted at in earlier issues. Tangle in action is fantastic and I practically cheered. The reveal on 19 is awesome and the reactions by the character at the bottom perfect. I had a guess where Maria was going on Page 20 due to the visuals and 21 proved my assumption true. The large panel on the latter is exquisite. The last page is a full-paged splash that will have readers drop their jaws in shock. I’m liking the art on this book. Overall grade: A-

The colors: One of the problem with the Labyrinth, in the movie and the comics, is that it’s not a very colorful environment. If this series is to be true to the film, the antagonists and the settings are going to be very brown, which can become a bit blasé. Joana Lafuente is absolutely faithful to the film’s color scheme, injecting colors where she can with the original characters of this series. Cible is two tones of pink, though neither is neon. Tangle is the brightest character in the book with green leaves and bright red roses. Maria gets to stand out with her orange hair and pale skin. When Maria employs her magic the panel goes an overwhelming light blue that gives her a strong appearance. The monstrous character that arrives on 12 and 13 is very dark, not helping the dark colors of the book. The appearance of a character on 19 has this individual look powerful with orange and then red backlighting them. The colors in the large panel on the penultimate page are perfect, with one character’s clothes striking. Overall grade: B-

The letters: This issue’s dialogue, sounds, whispered speech, Tangle dialogue, an evil character’s unique speech, Jareth’s speech, a monstrous character’s dialogue, and the three word tease for next issue are Jim Campbell’s creations. The wide array of fonts used for specific characters is a terrific visual way to show how some characters are very different from others. Tangle’s dialogue is very childlike, which reflects the character’s nature, while Jareth’s looks like that used by an elf due to the employment of lower case letters. The three word tease for next issue is very regal, reinforcing the royal antagonist and suggesting that of a classic fairy tale. Overall grade: A 

The final line: The arrival of a warring party increases the tension and has Maria going to an unexpected location. I like the characters, but was not thrilled with the heroes’ conversations or actions until the antagonists appeared. From this point on the story became very interesting, with the ending of the book being a slick cliffhanger. The visuals are better this issue with many of the familiar characters resembling those from the film. This will please fans of Henson’s film. 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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