It's a safe bet that any of us that grew up in the 80's are familiar with Jim Hensen's "Labyrinth", the fantastical flick featuring David Bowie and Jennifer Connoly. It's a safe bet that most all of us that do remember it, remember it fondly as a deeply detailed world that had many more stories to tell outside of Jareth the Goblin King's abduction of Toby, Sarah's annoying little brother.
Me, yah I'm one of them.
With that in mind, you can imagine my excitement when I stumbled across the Tokyo Pop release of "Return to Labyrinth", a return to the fabled land some 13 years later in the form of a comic book!
Knowing that this was a Tokyo Pop release, meaning that it would be manga-fied and some what different, I still went in with high hopes. The end result was smoldering disappointment, a bit of discomfort, and mild amusement and the continuation of the world I was amazed by back in the day.
In "Return to Labyrinth", we center on Toby, the whiny tot that was first squirreled away in the Goblin King's castle. Now he's about 15 years old, a general disenfranchised youth, and an all about emo kid in the making. Fed up with school, he finds out that Jareth has been helping him out behind the scenes. In typical angsty teen fashion, he lashes out at Jareth once he discovers the truth and delivers the typical youth mantra, "I don't need your help! I can do it myself!" Soon he follows a goblin that stole his homework into the Labyrinth, and then we're reliving the first movie with many lamely rehashed moments from the original film, with a twisted Cinderella story tacked on top.
Needless to say, I was overall a bit disappointed in this book. It's strangely homo-erotic in the scenes with Jareth and Toby; Jareth always came across a bit light in the loafers, but he was David Bowie. It was expected. Plus, his wispy ways were directed towards Sarah so it was all right, if a bit confusing. This time around he turns those same wiles upon Toby as he wants to groom him to take his throne. Sure, finding an heir is all well and good, but do we really need to do it by seducing a teenage boy? Maybe I'm crazy, but I'd prefer not!
Other wise, there are some interesting bits here for fans of the grandiose world of 1986. We catch glimpses of former characters, Hoggle, Ludo, and the like. Snatches of the expanded world are given as they hint towards other kingdoms besides that of just the Goblin kingdom which was nice; it leads us to believe that there was an entire world along side ours than just that of Bowie and his singing Goblins. The biggest problem lies in the fact that in volume one they have turned it into a bit of a twisted Cinderella story, dropped hints to the return of Toby's sister Sarah, killing any nothing of something new and original for the world. Part of what made the original film so interesting is that it was new and different; now we have weird and different, and reheated.
I plan on diving into volume 2 here soon but my hopes are understandably low. Should you feel the need to revisit some old friends, by all means do. Just remember, just like with high school, sometimes when you revisit those old friends, you find out they're just as boring and weird as you remember.
As for me, I'll stick with the original weirdo.