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Return to Labyrinth, Volume 2

Note:

I’ve been away for far too long, and I do apologize. It always seems like things happen all at the same time. But I’m going to try to get back on track, starting with Volume 2 of Return to Labyrinth. Now, my last review of this series wasn’t so positive–I mean, Volume 1 really was done poorly. However, I did try to explain that Lie’s art gets better. And that it does. The story is a little more interesting, too, since we’re getting deeper into the story line. And where Volume 2 isn’t my favorite in the series, it is pretty good, and keeps your interest. I’ll get into the story a little later. Let’s go ahead and start this one up, shall we?

*This review has spoilers. Proceed with caution!*

Return to Labyrinth, Volume 2-Recommended

Mangaka: Story/Jake T. Forbes; Art/Chris Lie
Copyright: 2007
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure
Summary:

Toby’s been named the new Goblin King, but with this title comes not only the goblins, but also the whole labyrinth and its upkeep. Toby’s got a ton of responsiblity, and none of the know-how to keep things from falling to pieces. At the end of the party, Toby recieves a “helping hand” from the neighboring country of Moraine. Mizumi and her daughters, as well as the professors of the castle, attempt to teach Toby all he needs to know to run the labryinth. But the Queen has more on her mind than just helping Toby–she wants the goblin city, and its former ruler–for herself. Caught up all his studies, Toby loses track of who his true friends are, causing them to put their life in danger in search of what’s been lost: both Hannah, the faerie (and her trusty steed Stank,) and Moppet.

Pros and Cons: Story and Content

Characters:

Characters are better in this volume. Not Toby so much…he’s still pretty flat and not really interesting, but he does crack some good jokes. He has a little more confidence this time round, and is showing determination. He’s starting to flesh out a little bit, but still needs some work.

Mizumi and the “bad guys” on the other hand are great. Maybe not the daughters so much yet, but we get a peek into Mizumi. We know what she wants, we know a little why she’s gone bad, and we get to see a bit of her mode of thinking through her plot to get castle and labyrinth. I mean, with her, we see that “hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.” Also, we see more development of Moppet, whom I find a little more interesting than Toby–I mean, she’s got some mystery, but some of that begins to unravel, especially once you reach the cliffhanger at the end of the book. Just who the heck is she?

The goblins, are goblins. They more or less stay the same.

Story:

The story’s getting better. Granted, the spend a lot of time teaching Toby a bunch of useless stuff, we do get some real interesting happenings. For one thing, I like how there’s some depth. There’s more than one storyline going on at the same time here. I think Forbes did that a little bit in the first volume, but not enough to really get me interested. And it wasn’t done as well. Here, it flips to different people’s stories/perspectives. For the most part, it’s Toby, but you get some of what Jareth’s up to, sneaking around with Moppet, Hannah, and Stank while they search for faerie wings, peer into Mizumi’s plots, and even get some creepy little Tonberry-look-alikes at the end and you’re thinking “whoa, what’s up with these dudes. How random. Why bother?” but they have some interesting things to say so you stick with it.

It moves faster, too. The flow is smoother, and there’s quite a bit of action to move things along (though, sad to say, there’s still quite a bit of inaction, as well, what with all the schooling and such.)

Pros and Cons: Art

The art’s much better in volume 2. Not nearly as sloppy. Lie seems to have had more time to complete this, and the quality of the graphics are much better. They’re still not necessarily up to par with some of the great artists of manga, but lines are crisper, the characters are more comfortably drawn, and the toning is amazingly, like, 100% better. It’s still not as good as it can be, but if it weren’t for these improvements, I wouldn’t have bothered with the rest of the series. And from here on out, the art gets better and better in the following volumes.

Conclusion:

The story’s starting to get going, and the art’s much better. I was able to read through this pretty quickly and keep my interest. There was a good deal of comedy, and some clever puns that made me chuckle from time to time, plus some allusions to other stories. I like allusions. I especially like allusions to Shakespeare, like on page 50 when Toby talks about how Lear came to a bad end (sorry if I spoiled it for ya–but it is a tragedy after all, and it’s Shakespeare, so you know everyone dies.) And, of course, to lure us children of the 80s in further, the story throws in some nostalgia, like “choose your own adventure” books (pg. 60) and characters such as Sir Didymous and the Wiseman.

Overall, I continue to recommend this series, and this volume. If you’re a big fan of Labyrinth, I’ve found that it’s not a bad read. Not as good as it could have been, but worth your time if you’re a die-hard fan.

Return to Labyrinth, Volume 3 & 4 coming soon!

Return to Labyrinth, Volume 2-Recommended!

Citations:

Forbes, Jake T. and Chris Lie. Return to Labyrinth. Vol. 2 Hamburg: Tokyopop, 2007.

Posted in Blog: Cerulean Sessions, Blue's Reviews. Tagged with , , , , .

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