Format: Paperback, 192pp
Pub. Date: August 2006
I loved Labyrinth - the movie that is. What wasn’t to love? David Bowie singing and wearing really, really tight pants. Not to mention the adventure, danger, and love. Labyrinth had it all, and I watched it so often that the tape wore out. When it came out on DVD I rushed out and bought a copy, and it’s never far from my DVD player. A few years ago, Hot Topic, a clothing store, had a whole line of Labyrinth themed clothes and accessories. I had my fair share of those, too.
So when I first saw Jim Henson’s Return to Labyrinth in the manga section a year ago, I was intrigued. I had loved the movie and was disappointed that it hadn’t been based off a book that I could devour and love. But I held off buying the manga until I could see what other people thought of it. At ten bucks a pop, for less than an hour of reading pleasure, that’s just a lot of cash to put down.
Return to Labyrinth picks up with Toby, Sarah’s now teenage brother, and Jareth the Goblin King. Toby is your typical teenager, except that whatever he wishes for seems to always happen. Of course, we know that Jareth is behind that, just as he was behind Sarah’s wish for her baby brother to disappear, and when Toby finds out, he isn’t too happy about it. Irritated with Toby’s reaction, Jareth seemingly steps out of the picture and leaves Toby to his normal life.
When Toby’s homework is stolen by a goblin who disappears into the back of his closet, Toby thinks nothing of following him through the small door. Of course, this door leads him to the Labyrinth and the Goblin City. Toby quickly picks up friends and sets out across the Labyrinth in search of his missing homework.
Along the way, we find out that Toby is being chased by rivals of Jareth’s, two sets of people determined to rule the Goblin City once Jareth steps down. Toby has somehow become mixed up in the mess. We have to ask ourselves: Why is Toby really there? What is Jareth up to? And do we really care?
The artwork inside the manga is done by Chris Lie, while the cover art is done by Kouyu Shurei. The cover art work is superior, more beautiful and detailed than what you find inside the book once you open it. To an extent, this is misleading, and I was disappointed that the artwork inside wasn’t what the cover showed. But Chris Lie is still a talented artist, and, as the story moved forward, I forgot my disappointment.
Return to Labyrinth Volume Two was published this month, over a year after the first volume hit shelves. And I'm glad that I waited to read them until the second one came out because this first volume leaves you with a cliff hanger ending. Overall, Volume One is fair. I’m a bit disappointed that it was so… well, typical. There wasn’t anything new or exciting to be found and jump start the imagination. The few cameos of characters from the movie felt stilted and awkward, while the rest of it just felt like your basic teen fluff, which has been done better. I'll keep reading in the hope that it gets better.