Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Under the Spell #1 comes out this week. It’s the premiere issue in a new series from BOOM! Studios that tells three short stories of three different characters from the world of Labyrinth.
The first story is titled “The Eternal Tournament,” and is the story of how Sir Didymus and his faithful steed Ambrosius came to be in the service of the Goblin King Jareth. Every year there’s a tournament held to determine who is to be put in charge of guarding the bridge in the Bog of Eternal Stench. For generations, one bloodline has been champions of this disgusting honor. The current champion Mariell has won the last 12 and is eager to be free of this burden. With a little teamwork and some friendly honorable competition, Sir Didymus and Ambrosius defeat Mariell to become champions and defenders of the Bog of Eternal Stench.
The second story is called “En Guard!,” and it is the story of how Hoggle, who once held the title of Guard’s Guard, ended up being the Royal Groundskeeper. After enduring having to guard the armory and clean all of the Goblin soldiers’ smelly armor, Hoggle runs into a bird who is the current groundskeeper and talks him into trading jobs. Being the Royal Groundskeeper grants Hoggle knowledge of shortcuts to navigate the Labyrinth and the task of dusting fairies, which he rather enjoys. This is where he first meets Jareth and it sets him on the path to eventually meeting and helping Sarah on her quest to find her brother Toby.
The third and final story is about a clumsy goblin by the name of “No.” Kicked out of the goblin army after failing miserably at every task that they assigned to him, No is pushed away into the unknown at the edge of the Labyrinth. It is here that he finds a book lying on the ground titled “The Sneaky Pirate King,” which inspires him to become a thief in his own right. No ventures through the Labyrinth stealing and collecting books from all corners of the realm and goes from being known as “No: the Clumsy Goblin” to the self-proclaimed title of “Know: the Almighty Moving Library.”
All three of these stories are wonderfully written and very charming. The first two stories are obviously setup for characters that will soon meet up with Sarah and her adventures to the Labyrinth from the film. S.M. Vidaurri does a great job capturing the spirit and spunk of Sir Didymus and weaves a tale of honor and camaraderie that fits right into the Labyrinth universe perfectly. The artwork on this story is also very well done. Sarah Webb keeps it very fun and whimsical and Laura Langston’s use of color only adds to this magical quality.
Sina Grace’s writing on the story En Guard! is rather simple but does explain why Hoggle knows so much about the Labyrinth and why he is obsessed with dusting fairies. The illustrations by Boya Sun on this tale are rather simple as well and bland, but do still capture the feel of the film in a washed out kind of way. It definitely has the least impact these three stories.
“No!” Is both written and illustrated by Michael Dialynas and is an original story with an original character not from the films at its core. Both the story and the artwork are brilliant and fit perfectly into the Labyrinth world that Jim Henson created all those years ago. The story is light and fun and is about the little guy finding his place in this strange world and making a real name for himself, literally. The artwork is bright and colorful, and beautiful to look at.
This is a wonderful first issue in this new series by Henson and BOOM! that is masterfully crafted, brilliantly written, and very fun. Two of the three stories were absolutely wonderful and the third one wasn’t bad, but just doesn’t hold up to the other two in story or art. Overall I highly recommend this issue to any fans of the movie Labyrinth since it involves characters and situations leading up to events from the film and is on par with the other wonderful Henson series of comics that have come out in the last year or two from BOOM!.