35 years ago Jim Henson and Frank Oz dazzled audiences with their fantastical tale of Jen’s quest to heal The Dark Crystal. Audiences instantly fell in love with the gentle Mystics and loved to hate the evil but also humorous Skeksis. Henson and Oz’s world of Thra, with significant help from Brian Froud, has lived on for many as a classic adventure film. In fact it has become a bit of a cult classic – fans just can’t get enough.
Today we are lucky enough to read the next chapter of this story written by Simon Spurrier and Phillip Kennedy Johnson in the comic The Power of the Dark Crystal. These brave souls took on the challenge of adapting the screenplay written by Annette Duffy and David Odell into a comic book, and they succeeded. I have followed this new adventure across twelve issues and have enjoyed every minute of it. The Power of the Dark Crystal uses a simple formula of good versus evil to weave a fantastical tale that will entice new readers and reengage existing fans.
It was a delight to be introduced to yet another race of Thra. Just when you think you know the world inside and out (no pun intended), here come the Firelings, another layer of Thra that had gone undiscovered until now. The dwellers above know nothing of the fiery land at the core of Thra. It is their ignorance and greed that causes Thra’s demise. This is a wonderful example of good storytelling wherein you take the uncomplicated concept of greed and create a narrative of how greed can destroy worlds.
The two main protagonists, Kensho and Thurma, display a purity that resembles Jen and Kira. I enjoyed the slight similarities of the two young lovers’ stories — finding one another and conquering evil. Their tales mimicked each other just enough without becoming a true copy of the original. You will root for Kensho and Thurma just as you did for Jen and Kira. “Love — there is no greater offering.”
The only negative (if you can call it one) for me throughout this series is that I would have liked to see Aughra have more of a presence. Aughra stands out in my mind as such a large character in the original film. Then I recently watched the re-release of The Dark Crystal and realized she was not in the film all that much. It was just that her character made such an impact that I felt as if she were in the film more. Perhaps if her short stints were more demonstrative I would not feel this way. She does pull off some good jabs from time to time and her gruffness is amusing but I just wanted a bit more.
If you are a fan of The Dark Crystal, this series is a must read. The story is a beautiful, believable continuation of the original. Oh and let’s not forget about the artwork. Kelly and Nichole Matthews elevate the creatures and landscape of Thra to the next level with their stunning panels.
Did I like it? Dazzling! Fans are going to love this next chapter of The Dark Crystal.
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