Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #5 from BOOM! Studios is out in stores this week. Simon Spurrier and Daniel Bayless delve even deeper into the inner workings of the Labyrinth itself.
In this latest issue Maria finds herself at the entrance to a giant cemetery filled with strange mausoleums, one of which has the name “Tyton” inscribed across its doorway. This confuses Maria even more since she thought she had figured out that the Labyrinth was taken from within her mind and dreams, yet she has never seen this structure that bears the name of her husband who has caused her all this pain. Accompanied by her friends the Knight Sir Skubbin and the living rose bush Tangle, Maria tries to make sense of how the Labyrinth truly works and how this mausoleum of her husband’s family could be here in front of her in this strange, dreamlike world. Suddenly the old painter woman from party in Italy appears, noticing Maria is in possession of a Goblin Lord’s signet ring and assuming that she is a knight of some sort. The old woman is being harassed by the undead revenants populating the cemetery. It seems the Owl King has commissioned her to decorate his tomb in anticipation of his end of days and the inhabitants of the cemetery view it as an eyesore and torment her over it.
She asks Maria to vanquish them so Sir Skubbin speaks up and admits the ring belongs to him and takes up arms against the unnatural creatures. At that moment Maria gets an idea and takes the chalk that belonged to her son and begins drawing Lord Tyton’s face upon one of the crypts. She then discovers that she has the power to alter reality and matter within the Labyrinth as his face turns into a giant statue where the crypt once stood. Maria then takes the chalk and starts drawing upon the Owl King’s tomb much to the joy and approval of the undead occupants of the cemetery. Just then the statue of her husband’s head begins to illuminate, then explodes, leaving it broken in pieces on the ground before her. The Owl King suddenly appears behind Maria, telling her that she is not the only one that can manipulate matter within the Labyrinth. He explains to her then all of her rage, fear, and emotion is nothing more than a basic reaction. He takes her new friends telling her that her biggest fear of all is being alone as he disappears leaving her lost and broken yet again.
The artwork on this issue continues to be beautiful and brilliant thanks to the talents of Daniel Bayless and Dan Jackson. Bayless really knows how to draw this world with a distinct familiarity to the original source material but in a way that makes it unique and original feeling as well. Not only do we get to see events from the film happening simultaneously with the storytelling of Maria’s journey in the Labyrinth, but we also get new areas with new creatures and strange inhabitants to behold. Dan Jackson’s colors only amplify this fantastic world, making it bright, vibrant, and very much alive. Although there’s more story than action in this particular issue, what action scenes there are are exciting and kinetic. The character of the Owl King in particular is extremely menacing and his presence looms like a sinister shadow over every corner of the Labyrinth.
Simon Spurrier continues to weave a masterful tale in and out of the thread of the original movie. He creates parallels between Toby and baby Jareth as well as Sarah and Maria. Spurrier also gives us a deeper look as to how the Labyrinth works with the mind of the person that is trapped in it. Maria realizes this and discovers that she has power and control over things in the Labyrinth. We also get to see a bit of the political structure between the goblins and the Owl King. The Old King is dying and there is the scent of revolution in the air. Spurrier gives the reader a sense that there is more going on behind the scenes between the goblins and their King and that things are not always as they seem. This is very clever writing as usual from a master like Spurrier. Each issue he gives us a little taste and a little piece of what is yet to come and he does such a magnificent job of sucking the reader in just enough to leave them hanging until the next issue.
Overall, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #5 is a great installment in this 12 part limited series from BOOM! Although it may not be as action-packed or visually stunning as some of the previous issues, it does give us a wonderful, vibrant glimpse of Sir Stubborn in action against the revenants in the cemetery that is very exciting. More importantly, it shows how Maria has some power and manipulation over the Labyrinth herself which is sure to come into play in a very dramatic way in future issues.