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I'm very lucky in that I have a boyfriend who always buys really well thought out gifts for me on my birthday. This year, knowing that one of my favourite films from my childhood was Labyrinth, and also that I love reading and manga novels, he managed to combine them all into one gift - buying me the complete Return to Labyrinth manga series.
I wasn't even aware there was a manga series, so was delighted when I unwrapped my books, and started to read the first, Return to Labyrinth Volume 1 right away .
The cover art was simply stunning - you can see for yourself in the picture above. Lovely colours, and Jareth the Goblin King looking much as I remember him from the film, although missing his trademark gloves .
Opening the book up however, the art became a lot simpler - much more like a comic than a manga if I'm honest. However, bearing in mind that this is an American rather than Japanese creation, this makes a lot of sense, and the pictures are still well drawn, with well known characters being easily recognisable .
The story takes place some time after the film - with Toby, who was rescued from the Goblin King as an infant by his sister Sarah, now a teenager attending school. He's struggling with his grades and typical teenage awkardness, finding refuge in video games. However, he starts to notice that whenever he makes a wish, it is granted - although not always in the way he wants. One day, when a goblin named Skub steals his homework, Toby gives chase, ending up in the goblin kingdom, where the adventure really begins .
The story is new and original, although I feel the comic format does mean that in places it lacks depth, and can on occasion feel a little too simplified . However, the plot was easy to follow, and not at all predictable,and the illustrations were helpful and relevant to the story . I liked that there were plenty of new characters for us to meet, as well as all the old favourites from the film, as they kept the book very fresh and interesting .
I very much enjoyed this volume, and started on the next one right away . If you overlook the slightly shallow level of detail and the very american illustration style, it's a decent book, and one I would certainly recommend . 4 stars .