Jim Henson’s: Beneath The Dark Crystal #2 is out this week and it continues the story of two kingdoms, worlds apart, connected by love.
This issue starts out with the origins of Mithra. The great kingdom was once a vast wilderness until one day two Gelflings by the names of Chal and Saluna venture forth, bonding with its creatures and taming the land to build the kingdom now known as Mithra. This was the first bloodline of this kingdom and it is now the bloodline that challenges Thurma for the crown. Nita, the last true descendant of Chal and Saluna, demands her birthright as ruler of Mithra. Thurma requests that Nita go with her to light the Burning Heart and prove her bloodline and her right to rule.
Meanwhile, in the land of Thra, Kensho and his new companion Toolah head out far across the kingdom on their winged friend Bohrtog with riches they took from the Crystal Castle. Kensho means to distribute the wealth to all the people of Thra, although he admits to Toolah that he has no real plan on how to do so. This does not sit well with the young Gelfling and she begins to regret joining him on his quest. Just then, they hear a cry for help and follow it to a Gelfling caught in the current of a raging river and drowning. As Kensho and Toolah try to help her, another Gelfling girl attempts to steal the treasure and is quickly subdued by Bohrtog. Our heroes soon discover that there are twin Gelfling girls who have tricked them in hopes of robbing them. Kensho claims that they are herbalists traveling in search of rare ingredients and, much to the protest of Toolah, hires them as guides on their journey. The twins agree and reveal their names to be Danevay and Aiyana.
Back below in Mithra, Thurma and Nita travel deep down to the Burning Heart. Nita does in fact light its fire, proving her worthiness and right to rule. When the two return to the throne room to face the council, it is mentioned that more than one Ember has ruled Mithra at the same time. Nita proclaims that the kingdom is hers and hers alone to rule and that she will not share the throne. Thruma refuses to concede her crown leaving it in the hands if the Glass Castle. Both Embers agree to the challenge and Nita claims that if she loses she will return to her village. She also decrees that if Thurma loses the challenge of the Glass Castle, she is to leave Mithra never to return again.
The writing on this issue is wonderful. Adam Smith does a brilliant job of balancing both stories simultaneously. The flow of each is both exciting and compelling. The introduction of Nita and who and what she is and represents sets up for some serious drama between her and Thurma. On the one hand, Nita is part of an ancient bloodline and has a valid claim to the throne. On the other hand, during the Great Dim, when all seemed lost and Thurma sacrificed everything to save Mithra, Nita was nowhere to be found. The introduction of the twin Gelfling girls Danevay and Aiyana is also written very well and there is some exciting action when they try and steal the treasure of the Crystal Castle. Having them join up with Kensho and Toolah helps establish an initiation to Kensho’s quest of uniting Thra and helping the less fortunate villages scattered throughout the kingdom. Although they initially met up with the two girls trying to rob our heroes, they claim to do so out of desperation to help their village and with their help Kensho now has some direction as to how to go about his quest.
Alexandria Huntington continues to do a beautiful job with the artwork on this series. The bright, vibrant reds yellows and oranges of the world of Mithra light up every page with a magical luminescence. The cool blues and soft purples that she uses on the world of Thra are very gentle, soothing, and differentiate between the two worlds. The action in this issue is drawn very well. The rescue in the river in particular is very exciting and action-packed. The artwork is very beautiful and helps move this wonderful story along perfectly.
This second issue to this 12 part limited series does a great job of opening up the story and setting it up for even more excitement in the issues to come. It is written extremely well and every page looks gorgeous.