In the last issue we left with Maria having been captured by the Trawlers aboard their airship to be taken to the Owl King. While in her cell her captors return to throw in another prisoner who is none other than Sir Skubbin, the knight that she befriended when she first entered the Labyrinth. As Maria ties together bed sheets to attempt an escape, Sir Skubbin reveals to her that he has a skeleton key. The knight uses the key to open the door to the cell only to find the Night Troll Septimus on the other side waiting for them. The Owl King has sent Septimus to kill Maria. Maria quickly instructs Skubbin to use his key to release the other creatures in the cells beside them to distract the monster. One such creature is a living rose bush that bursts up out of the ship, sending Septimus into the air and causing the ship to crash into the waters below.
The story then turns to Maria’s husband Lord Albert Tyton aboard his ship en route back to England. Tyton is visited by the Owl King through a painting in his chambers. The Owl King warns Albert about the possibility of scandal if news of his marriage to Maria and the birth of their son ever got back to his father. He asks Lord Tyton what he would do to avoid that to which Albert replies that he would do anything.
Meanwhile Maria, Sir Skubbin, and the rose bush that they now have named Tangle, make their way to shore to regroup and decide where to go next. While they are discussing different options, Tangle says something that Maria’s mother used to say to her back in Venice. This makes Maria think that there’s something familiar about this walking rose bush that is more than meets the eye but she can’t put her finger on it. Maria then realizes that maybe the Labyrinth keeps changing because of her and her memories. She closes her eyes and starts walking. The three of them round a corner to find a gate leading to a cemetery with a giant mausoleum in the center. The mausoleum has the name of her husband “Tyton” engraved upon it. Maria explains to the other two that she has never seen this image before and it is not from her own mind.
The issue ends with the Owl King looming over Albert Tyton’s bed. Albert tells the Owl King about how his father would take him to the family crypt to show him how far the family line goes and how terrifying it was to him as a child. The Owl King tells Albert that terrifying is good and to concentrate on that.
Simon Spurrier has proven once again that he is a masterful storyteller. With each issue of this series he builds and expands upon these characters in a way that is compelling and leaves the reader wanting more and more. This issue is no exception to that and he continues to tie in characters and events from the original film, whilst telling this new story of characters from the past. In the Labyrinth nothing is as it seems and anything seems possible. Spurrier captures this idea and spirit with every moment of this story. Just when you think that you have figured out what’s going on, he flips things around, putting the reader in a similar mental state as the characters trapped within the Labyrinth itself. This is brilliant storytelling at its best and this issue continues to push this world and story to a whole new level.
The images that Daniel Bayliss creates for this wonderful story are a feast on the eyes. He really captures the look and feel of the world of Labyrinth, making the story not only look fantastical and wondrous, but also beautiful and breathtaking at the same time. The action in this issue with the escape from the airship is exciting and fun. Dan Jackson continues to do an exemplary job at complementing this beautiful art that Bayless has laid upon the page. His use of color and shadow add such a depth to the amazing detail of Bayless’s art.
This fourth installment in this amazing 12 part series is nothing short of perfection. It’s action packed, humorous, and has some serious plot twists that will pave the way for some dramatic issues to follow. The writing is on point, the artwork is breathtaking, and every issue leaves you hanging off the final page in anticipation for the next issue to follow. This issue achieves that even more so this time around.