The Other Side of Adaptation: Labyrinth Coronation vol 3
The other day I finally got around to finishing the three volume TPB of Labyrinth Coronation, the graphic novel continuation of the story begun by the 80’s movie Labyrinth. This is a prequel with a framing device that keeps it fully connected to the events of the original movie. The third volume wraps things up a little too neatly, but continues the story in a way that nicely mirrors the original movie. And as this is the final volume, there will be spoilers so be warned. As a whole, it’s definitely something that I enjoyed enough to want to finish the story, rather than having the feeling that I needed to finish the story for completion sake. I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I did the manga style sequel, but it was a nice diversion.
As far as the story goes, it continues the parallel narrative with Jareth telling Toby a story about a child in the past and it’s pretty clear that the child from the past is Jareth despite occasional questions about it. Especially because the baby’s father looks nearly identical to Jareth. And Jareth’s mother continues her quest which is nearly identical to Sarah’s quest to save her own baby. Where things change up slightly is at the ending. Here, Maria technically fails and reaches the Owl King right as the clock strikes the thirteenth hour as the Owl King intends to steal the life force of the infant to make himself young and powerful again. Maria realizes that she has magical power within herself while inside the Labyrinth and saves her son at the last instant, right in the middle of the ceremony. What happens next is slightly unclear as it immediately switches back to the present during the telling of the story. It’s implied that Jareth is some combination of the infant and the Owl King but it’s unclear exactly how much. The final happy ending is revealed that two of the dancers at the masquerade ball in the original Labyrinth movie are actually Maria and a simulacrum of Maria’s husband, but she is happy with her situation and has been for the previous 3,000 years.
There’s not too much else to say about the rest of the story. There are no real new characters introduced in this final section of the story and the previous characters also get their rewards for their help with Maria’s quest. Sir Skubbin more or less gets to behave like a real knight and a real scoundrel as he tricks a “con”-dolier and the rosebush Tangle gets their goblin flies to treat them more nicely, giving them daily hugs. Cible gets her own moment to shine during the big battle between rebel goblins and the Owl King’s forces as their leader keeps stealing her thunder by saying what she is about to say until she makes her own speech to get the goblins stop fighting so they can just have fun. Her epilogue shows her going off to lead a normal, boring life in the Labyrinth, hinting that she either was – or was the mother of – the original bookworm from the Labyrinth.
All in all, this was a fun story. The frequent callbacks to the original movie were handled well especially with the Beetleglum goblin character that looks after the baby in both timelines despite the fact that Jareth is the one telling the story. It’s a little odd that he seems to not know the entire story despite being there for it. He also gets his own heroic conclusion as he initially helped Maria save her baby in the original timeline despite it being a traitorous act towards the Owl King. Jareth initially claims that he’ll make due on the punishment for treason, leading onto the idea that he is partly still the Owl King, but ultimately changes his mind, revealing that while there may be some of the Owl King in him, it’s Maria’s son who is the dominant force and recognizes what Beetleglum did for him back then. Still a little overly sweet in wrapping everything up in a happy bow, but that’s not always a bad thing. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.