Thursday, August 11, 2016

Review - Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 (@boomstudios)


"Rocks, friends?"

Labyrinth is a classic. A marvelous--yet terrifying--classic tale rife with wizards, goblins and magic locales. Filling out those locales is a wide assortment of interesting characters, some of which get some love in Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 from Archaia. "Gone Fishing" is written and illustrated by Gustavo Duarte, "Wisdom & Idioms" and "Stone Cold" are written and illustrated by Cory Godbey, "Rock Solid Friendship" is written by Dam Smith and illustrated by Kyla Vanderklugt, "Hoggle and the Worm" is written by Ted Naifeh and Adrianne Ambrose, illustrated by Godbey and lettered by Deron Bennett, "Humongous Two" is written by Jonathan Case, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, colored by Jen Hickman and lettered by Warren Montgomery and "Sir Didymus's Grand Day" is written and illustraed by Godbey.

Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the beloved Jim Henson fantasy film with stories from inside the magical walls of the labyrinth. The issue features fan-favorite characters like Ludo, Hoggle, Sir Didymusand a few surprises, this special celebration collects for the first time all of the Labyrinth Free Comic Book Day stories along with new tales. And the covers are high-quality cardstock and will feature spot-gloss and holofoil enhancements.

Each of the stories in Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 is sufficiently lighthearted and friendly. In fact, just about all of them of focus on the concepts of friendship and camaraderie as ways to succeed in life and make the most of even the seemingly direst situations. Ludo features prominently in a lot of the stories and his simple approach to life definitely helps in oversimplifying the concept of simply being nice to one another when they need it. For all the songs and perilous situations, at its core Labyrinth is all about getting help through a difficult situation and Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 taps into that message well. Each story also maintains the humor and zaniness that the film fostered, largely owing to the somewhat whimsical nature of the characters involved.

While the artwork in Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 is quite varied, all of it maintains a very innocent approach. Duarte's work in "Gone Fishing" is the most stylistic of the bunch and feels the most like a comic book. Godbey's work on the other hand is the most ethereal, relying on a hand-painted aesthetic that fits well within the Labyrinth universe. The art in "Rock Solid Friendship" by Vanderklugt has a throwback quality to it that is reminiscent of artwork from the late 70s/early 80s. And Bayliss' approach in "Humongous Two" is predicated on offering a world full of characters that really underscores how vastly populated the world of Labyrinth really is.

Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 is a fitting homage to one of the cult-classic films of the Jim Henson era. Each story strays away from focusing on the main characters of the film; instead, it relies on the rich supporting cast to further flesh out the world. All of the writers clearly understand and admire the work, imbuing Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 with their own take on the characters of the classic. The artwork is varied throughout and presents a satisfying take on the world. Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 is a very welcome return to a fantastical world that emphasizes the importance of friendship in getting through tough situations.

Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special #1 is in stores now.

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