Thursday, March 24, 2011

REVIEW: Return to Labyrinth 4, Jake T. Forbes

The final installment of the Return to Labyrinth manga! Will it send hearts aflutter or cause a million fangirls to weep tears of despair? Will the labyrinth itself survive? WILL JARETH AND SARAH FINALLY KISS?! And ye gods, would they, COULD they, be together?

It has been the keenest source of pain for many a fangirl (including me) that Sarah defeats the Goblin King and happily trots home (ew) with her baby (double ew) brother at the end of Labyrinth. Was this the film that launched a billion fan-fics? You bet. And were most of them about Sarah returning to the labyrinth, or Jareth following her into the real world as that tantalising closing scene of Jareth in his owl form looking in her window suggests? Absolutely. I was an avid reader, and yes, writer, of such stories. (Not all of them had Sarah. There were a few Mary-Sues as well, as you might guess. All had Jareth though.) I can't remember when I discovered the Return to Labyrinth series. The second volume had already been released, but not the third. I remember rejoicing for here was the OFFICIAL version of events post-film, sanctioned by the people who own copyright. Something about it being "official" made me incredibly excited.

**wee spoiler for volume three follows**

My hopes for a happily-ever-after died with the revelation in volume three of just what an ablation is and what it did to Sarah. It was a selfish, one might say evil, thing for Jareth to have done. But he's the Goblin King. He can be cruel, as he so readily tells us. It felt like something Jareth would do. But of course, the bad guy never gets the girl. But he might still be redeemed and restored to his rightful place. And there still might be that kiss...

**end wee spoiler**

This character consistency is what endears me to the series the most. The drawings might look a little funny here and there and some of the puns are killer. But Jake T. Forbes has done a wonderful job of capturing the quirks and silliness of Labyrinth. The darkness and fear. The sense of adventure. There are plenty of original characters present but Forbes hasn't been afraid to expand on both the characters and the world.

There has been a lot of criticism of this series--as Forbes must have known there would be going into the project. It's a film that is dear to so many people and he's dared to mess with it. The criticism is unfortunate though, because the series feels so much like Labyrinth. And I'm thrilled to have been able to spend a little more time in that world.

A little something else to be excited about: At the end of volume four is an ad that promises EVEN MOAR Labyrinth coming "Fall 2010". Hmmm. Or not. But the interwebs assures me that it will happen. But more like fall 2011. So spring for us southerners!

1 comment:

  1. I've been curious about whether this series was any good, considering how much I like the movie. But in a way, I'm happy with fanfic.

    (Have you read the webcomic "Roommates"? Sarah and Christine Daae live together . . . and next door to Jareth and the Phantom.)