The Jim Henson Company’s ability to create wonderment is unparalleled — look no further than the hit 1980s movie Labyrinth. Since its release, there have been comic specials and series that show how ripe this franchise is for more storytelling. Out today, a new one-shot tale Labyrinth: Masquerade focuses on the masquerade ball seen in the film for a short scene, but there’s much more to it than you think. There’s also an explanation as far as the humans attending and dancing.
This series reveals what goes on behind the scenes as the Goblin King prepares for Sarah’s arrival so that he may dance with her. The issue opens with a goblin preparing the party goers who will be dancing in the masquerade. It turns out they are human beings trapped in the Goblin King’s domain forever, stuck and hidden away like mannequins as needed. Soon, though, a young girl named Sarah is awakened due to a snafu and she’s desperately trying to remember who she is and how she might escape.
Written by Lara Elena Donnelly, the 40 or so page comic is split between learning about how the masquerade works and Sarah’s escape. That allows the narrative to explore the masquerade but also the wider world and integrate some familiar characters. A few characters fans of the film should recognize pop in to make Sarah and the Goblin’s time a little more interesting. Unfortunately, the major players aren’t in this book, including the Goblin King, but maybe that’s on purpose to avoid connecting to the film too much.
The story also mimics the movie a bit since Sarah’s goblin friend goes out of his way to help her. He’s a good person, but that may be also because the Goblin King treats him so poorly.
The art is by Pius Bak, Samantha Dodge, and French Carlomango with colors by Francesco Segala and Fabiana Mascolo. Though there are so many artists involved, the switch from artist to artist isn’t jarring, with a generally good pace and flow to the book. The masquerade is surrounded by mirrors that all look sparkly and bright in a classy sort of way, which juxtaposes well with the latter half of the book and the dark junkyard of much of the Labyrinth. Generally speaking, the art has a cartoony flair which suits the fantasy aspects.
The book is paced a bit slowly, especially with 40 pages to work with and a $7.99 price tag. Ultimately the entire book is five scenes and it takes its time with each. That’s all well and good for a storybook feel, but it could have used a bit more to amp up the stakes and draw in your interest.
By issue’s end, there’s an interesting story here about never forgetting those you love and being punished for it by being trapped in the Goblin King’s maze. For how well this book works, one could imagine BOOM! Studios publishing many more one-shot tales exploring this world and the various ways one might escape or be trapped in the Labyrinth. Labyrinth: Masquerade excellently explores the fantasy world and shows promise for more one-shot tales like it.
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