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This is the second book in the four part 'Return to Labyrinth' manga series published by Tokyopop. With it being the second book, there are major spoilers in this review for those who have not read the first volume yet, so I advise you not to read this review if you don't want spoilers .
The Story So Far
The story takes place some time after the film . In the last book, Toby, who was rescued from the Goblin King as an infant by his sister Sarah, was a teenager at school struggling with his studies, and taking refuge in video games.However, he started 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 he is sentanced to death by the mayor. The Goblin King intervenes however, promising Toby his safety and a return to the real world if Toby attends his ball that evening - where he makes the shock announcement that he is retiring, and that Toby is now King of the Goblins.
After the dramatic cliff-hanger ending of the first book, it is gratifying to see that, for those that may have missed the first, or read it some time ago, the first couple of pages are dedicated to refreshing your memory of the events so far. After that, it's right into the action, with the goblin kingdom reeling from Jareths shock announcement.
How can this whelp, who looks freshly bathed, for heavens sake, be expected to rule successfully over a Kingdom . As Toby struggles to fit into his new role as leader, he is aided by Mizumi, and her daughters Moulin and Drumlin - but what ulterior motive does queen Mizumi have .
As Toby focuses on his kingship studies preparing for the test the will prove his worthiness, he neglects his friends, gradually isolating himself , whilst Jareth is off in a dream world. How will Toby face up to the challenges agead, and will his neglect of his friends mean he has to do it alone.
I found the plot incredibly engaging, and really enjoyed a couple of the surprises that were thrown in . Both in terms of graphics and plot, this volume is a distinct improvement on the first, which felt very much like reading a comic . While this still has a slight comic book feel to it, it does seem as if more effort and time has been spent on the detailing, making the images much richer and much more interesting.
I think this is a great little graphic novel, although I think it has limited appeal, really being aimed at the fans of the film as a continuation of the story rather than as a standalone tale .
4 stars .