Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation #11-#12

Writer: Simon Spurrier & Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: Archaia

Review by Melissa Prange

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation finally draws to a close as both Maria and Sarah come face to face with their foes. Over twelve issues, they met danger with courage and wit and have traversed the Labyrinth to arrive at the Goblin City. One searches for her son and the other her brother, and it’s finally time to see whether or not they can save their loved ones.

In the past, Maria and her friends make one final attempt to find their way into the Owl King’s castle. With a monster-infested moat separating them from the gate, it would seem all hope is lost. Thankfully, there is still Beetlegum. After being exposed as a traitor, he flees the Owl King’s minions toward our struggling gang.

In the present, Jareth and Sarah reunite one last time. With her brother still in danger, she gathers the strength to speak the words which will defeat the Goblin King. After Sarah’s success, however, Jareth must deal with secrets and a past which still has power over him.   

The last two issues of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation are a bizarre mix of action and exposition. While our main characters finally fight the Owl King and his minions, there’s a lot of downtime as heroes and villains explain what is currently happening and what happens next. It’s an odd sort of let down to what could have been an exciting and dynamic ending.

Out of everyone, Tangle receives the best finale. The rose bush gets a slightly bizarre series of hero moments in the final two issues, but the bizarreness didn’t bother me because Tangle remains my favorite character in Labyrinth: Coronation (how can you help but love a sentient rose bush?). The fact that Tangle gets the perfect happily-ever-after warms my heart in a way that none of the other character endings did.

It’s actually unfortunate that, out of all the characters, Maria and Jareth have the worst ending. As the lead character of the series, I had hoped Maria’s story arc would come to a satisfying conclusion. Sadly, that’s not the case. Not only is her ending confusing, but it leads to a weird epilogue which almost ruins the entire series. That might seem dramatic, but her ending affects Jareth’s characterization in a rather odd way and goes so far as to drastically change the ending of the film–which is something I didn’t expect or want from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation.

The art, unfortunately, doesn’t help make up for that huge issue either. The only illustrations that stick out are full page spreads devoted to the plot of the film. The “You have no power over me” moment between Jareth and Sarah is beautifully depicted and another film-related collage is fantastically intricate. The new characters, however, don’t get anything quite so wonderful. It’s a shame because these are the characters we’ve spent twelve issues with and they aren’t left with iconic images.

The Verdict: Buy It.

Oddly, by the end of the series, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation becomes both a prequel and sequel. While the prequel aspects remain a lot of fun, it’s the sequel part which causes the comic to breakdown. The series had many strengths over its run, but, by the end, it became obvious that plotting was not to one of them. Unfortunately for Labyrinth: Coronation, that fault causes the series to come to a less than thrilling conclusion.

In spite of all its problems, however, I wouldn’t say these final two issues of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: Coronation make the series a waste of time. The comic continually thrived when focused on the expansion of the film’s worldbuilding. I found it fascinating to see how both Maria and Sarah shaped the Labyrinth around their own personalities. The introduction of such characters as Sir Skubbin and Tangle to the Labyrinth universe also made the series satisfying. While the story crumbles a bit at the end, Labyrinth: Coronation manages to be another fantastical journey into the Labyrinth.

Melissa Prange

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