Format: Paperback, 192pp
Pub. Date: November 2007
Legends of the Dark Crystal – The Garthim Wars takes place 100 years before Jim Henson’s classic film The Dark Crystal and gives the reader a peek into the history leading up to the healing of the dark crystal by the Gelflings Jen and Kira.
But this is before the crystal was healed and the Gelflings almost extinct. Garthim still hunt the nonviolent Gelflings for the evil Skeksis. The captured Gelflings are taken to the Crystal Palace were they are drained of their essence which the Skeksis drink for immortality.
Lahr, a peaceful shepherd, is away from his village when it is raided by a large group of Garthim. He comes back to find everyone gone and is attacked by a lingering Garthim. Lahr successfully fights the monster off, an unheard of feat. Determined to warn the other Gelfling villages Lahr leaves behind the ruins of his past.
Neffi’s village was attacked as well and when she stumbles across Lahr’s path they decided to go on together. Soon the two heart-sore Gelflings have reached the next village. Lahr warns the elders of what is coming but the village is split in its decision to stay and fight or flee. The Gelflings are a peaceful nonviolent race and the idea of fighting and war are completely alien to them.
The art by Heidi Arnhold and Max Kim is great, very detailed and there is a lot to look at in each panel. They did a good job of sticking to the ideas of Brian Froud, who did the original artwork and designs for the movie, while making it their own. There is also a guest art gallery at the back with drawings from 16 other artists.
The gentle Mystics don’t play a huge role in the manga though the evil Skeksis make an appearance and are as creepy as ever. I really liked the idea that this story is history, set 100 years before the story we are so familiar with, and that it isn’t bogged down with cameo appearances. Legends of the Dark Crystal is new and fresh while still feeling slightly familiar. It’s perfect if you’re a fan of The Dark Crystal or are just looking for a solidly drawn fantasy.