Maria works her way deeper into the maze, with the help of a few friends. The Owl King draws more upon Albert to overcome her. And Maria suddenly finds herself…in the midst of a Goblin Revolution?
Writer: Simon Spurrier, Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss, Irene Flores
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Boom! Studios (Archaia)
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 26, 2018
Previously in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation: We are following the story of Maria, caught in the Labyrinth, trying to rescue her baby son Jareth from the Owl King. Maria meets up with a tiny caterpillar revolutionary named Cible who decides to accompany her. We learn that Skubbin is the Owl King’s son, and he does not want to be his heir. The Owl King admits that this is why he stole the human baby – he needs an heir. If Skubbin wants to remain free to do his own thing, Maria must fail in her quest.
ONE STEP AHEAD AND ANOTHER STEP BACK
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #7 is settling into its stride and hitting the part of the story where we are building up to the conclusion, but we are still stuck in the Labyrinth. The plot is folding back around though. To remind us of where we came from, we begin with Jareth observing Hoggle, who had been helping Sarah, give her the peach and unwittingly betray her. Is Skubbin going to do the same to Maria? It takes a couple more pages for Beetleglum to talk Jareth into continuing his tale, while Toby sleeps.
In the Labyrinth, Maria is walking with Cible, the caterpillar, on her shoulder and Tangle, the rosebush, beside her. Tangle continues to be mobile and somewhat sentient, although it really doesn’t understand many of the concepts of life in the real world. Tangle does seem desperately to want hugs, though, which is quite the thorny proposition for the people around it, especially when Cible is caught in the embrace. She’s not entirely hardened as a revolutionary, and Maria makes the point that pretending to be something is not the same as actually being it.
They walk through a door and find themselves in a children’s nursery. Remember that Maria comes from an earlier century. Here they are, tiny figures in a room full of children’s toys. Cible wonders if all human children have this, and Maria points out that it’s only the rich who can afford it. Children of her background get sent out to work as soon as they are able. Maria also quickly learns that this is a place she cannot change.
One of the toys comes to life as a lecturer, demanding that they name the colonies of Britannia. There is no playtime until they do, and if they don’t, they will be crushed. Maria was a poor girl; she was never educated. This is yet another memory that the Owl King stole from Albert, the husband who abandoned Maria and their child. Then a jack-in-the-box pops open, and Skubbin arrives to fight off the toy lecturer. Skubbin is modest and confident, certain he knows which way to go next, but Cible also knows of a place that’s safe, and hidden from the King’s eye.
She leads them down, under the castle, to the place where the Great Goblin Rebellion is. Cible has an interesting idea of “safe.” This doesn’t seem quite the place for a tiny caterpillar who has never left home. Ah, but we don’t yet know Cible’s full name, which shows that this is her destiny!
At this point, I am starting to wonder how the series is going to resolve. We already know that Jareth becomes the Goblin King, so presumably Maria does fail. Although I suppose that, in the Labyrinth, there are different kinds of failures. I like that we still check in with the movie plot because there are similar threads, but this journey is starting to feel kind of long. I’m glad we drew Albert back into it, because that plot point was pretty important a few issues ago, and then felt rather neglected.
The art of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #7 continues to be solid. One of the themes that we’ve seen, but which comes into more use in this issue, is that of gears and machinery underlying things, especially in the Owl King’s palace. It is quite beautifully rendered here. I like to think of it as a visualization of the King’s Machiavellian thought process. The scene of him in the center of his machinations is very striking.
There is not an enormous amount of action this month, but the art makes the most of it. Skubbin’s entrance is certainly dramatic. The scenes of the Goblin Revolution call back to Maria’s own timeline, and Cible has a grand closure to the issue.
BOTTOM LINE: WAITING FOR TIME TO PASS
Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #7 seems to be setting up for the third act. There is a little more character development, and a reminder of the stakes. But there’s also a feel of this being a little more of the same. It isn’t a bad episode and fits in with the others, but it is simply less extraordinary.