Ok, for serious this time. Welcome to my review of volume 2 of Return to the Labyrinth!
Once again, we're treated to a BEAUTIFUL cover by Kouyu Shurei. Seriously, why couldn't Shurei do the story art as well?
Okay, so we start this volume off with...another recap of the movie. Really? I'm pretty sure the readers know what happened in the movie, or at least remember the recap you gave us in the first volume.
However, Sarah looks almost kinda pretty the way he drew her in THIS recap. Maybe he's figured out how to draw women...
And the recap ends with Jareth waking up. Aha! It was a nightmare. Poor Jareth. He...wait, wait, WAIT. What the HELL is he wearing?
Sorry for the ghetto quality, I took this since I couldn't find it on google, which leads me to conclude that the Labyrinth fans are really determined to pretend this manga series didn't happen, because I feel google imaging Jareth plus pajamas plus weird pajama hat would have turned up SOMETHING.
But seriously. The hat? And the weird balloon pant pajamas...? What...?
I can say with full confidence, and I'm sure my fellow Labyrinth fans will agree, that the Goblin King sleeps in the nude. I'M JUST SAYING. This is practically canonical. Deviantart ANY picture of Jareth sleeping and I guaran-freaking-tee you it will be naked.
This is shojo manga, y'all. Why would you deprive the fans of that kind of fanservice?
Okay, anyway, he wakes up and paces around in his ridiculous pajamas and we learn that this is actually a flashback thirteen years ago, right after Sarah defeated him. Jareth angsts about this for a little bit and mutters, "Sarah...what do you want from me?"
We cut to him eating...breakfast? Thankfully he's in normal Goblin King attire although his nails are painted and claw-like and kind of bother me but I can't prove or disprove his nails do or do not look like that since in the movie he wears gloves for the duration. The goblin Spittledrum bursts in and and yells that the goblins are revolting, we get a lame pun from Jareth, and then a discussion that after Jareth's defeat, the goblins aren't really feeling like Jareth is much of a king, and that they think he's losing power. Spittledrum toots his own horn and suggests Jareth steps down, but instead of bogging him like canon Jareth would do, manga Jareth just kind of laughs and says, 'Sure, I'll make you mayor, I'm gonna go do something vague and mysterious, brb.'
Then I get excited, because the inner monologue starts to hint of Jareth/Sarah.
As he travels to somewhere vague and mysterious, he thinks, "Every leaf, every stone, every life within these walls belongs to me...but I would destroy them all and build them all over again...if it would bring her back. For what use is a kingdom to a king if he has no queen to share it with?"
Really? Seriously? You're--you're gonna go in a Jareth/Sarah direction? We're gonna do this, seriously?
Don't get too excited, fangirls. Snarl.
Anyway, Jareth travels to Mizumi's kingdom. Remember Mizumi, our obvious villainess? Mizumi is all sneering and taunting, offers him refreshment, Jareth rebuffs the offer. Then Mizumi does something super creepy and turns into Sarah and goes, "Take me, Jareth. Rule me. I don't need anyone but you."
Oh, that's just mean.
She gets all up in his face (for a second I think there's going to be a kiss) and Jareth has a NOT AMUSED expression and I start to get even MORE excited because it really does seem like they're going in a Sarah/Jareth direction!
Mizumi transforms back and sneers again at Jareth for losing his heart to a mortal girl.
Jareth ignores this commentary on his love life and requests Mizumi make him an ablation. What is an ablation? We find out later. He makes a bet with her, saying if he wins the bet, he gets to keep the ablation. But if she wins, she gets the Labyrinth and his kingdom. Mizumi accepts, giving him thirteen years to win the wager. No, my Hermiones, we don't get to find out what the wager is. Stay tuned.
Then we start on chapter 2, where the goblins are grumbling about Jareth's quick decision to make Toby king.
I recall from the first volume a quick flash on Mizumi's face when Jareth made Toby his heir. She looked super pissed. However, she is now all sweet and accommodating towards Toby, urging him to ask her if he needs any help at all. Anyone with half a brain cell can see she is NOT TO BE TRUSTED, but unfortunately for us, we have a really stupid protagonist. Toby angsts about suddenly being king and bonds a little with Skub, who is by far the most adorable goblin.
We then cut to Moppet who is being chewed out by Spittledrum for attending the ball. We flash to a little sequence that explains some about her past, how she tried to steal food from the Junk Lady, and seemed to grow up in poverty and starvation. The Junk Lady takes her as he own, gives her a goblin mask, because apparently her face (her human face?) is so repellent that she needs to hide.
Spittledrum buys her from the Junk Lady and we go back to Spittledrum still chewing Moppet out, reminding her how lucky she is.
Then we go to Mizumi and her daughters, Moulin and Drumlin. Mizumi explains to them that she can't simply conquer the Labyrinth and the Goblin City because that's against the rules. She can only get them by trade or by defeating them in battle. Apparently the goblins kick ass at war so she can't get them that way...
Hang on a second. Rules? Where are these rules written? And frankly, hasn't it been established by the movie that Jareth doesn't really give a flying shit about rules? Remember how he gave Sarah thirteen hours to solve the Labyrinth and then decided to fastforward time three hours in the tunnel just for shits and giggles?
Whatever. Moving on.
Toby is wandering around aimlessly, still angsting about being king. He then comes across the 'Museum of Toby', which well establishes Jareth's voyeuristic tendencies. He is extremely creeped out, and then the museum director, Professor Maelgrot, demands the entry fee. He then looks Toby up and down and says something that ALMOST makes up for the dullness this volume is providing.
Professor Maelgrot: You remind me of the babe.
Toby: What babe?
Me: THE BABE WITH THE POWER!
LOL, so much love here. Professor Maelgrot recognizes Toby and shows him around the museum, then showing him something that is highly gross, a sculpture of Toby made out of dead skin, discarded toenail clippings, old hair, etc. Toby, like me, is immediately nauseous at this, and then Professor Maelgrot decides he wants to chop up Toby for a more realistic representation and then he gets knocked out by Moppet.
Moppet and Toby leave the museum and together they angst about him being king and how Moppet can't remember her past. Then we see--hey the Wiseman!
I love this guy. And actually, Lie did a really good job drawing the Wiseman.
The Wiseman tells Toby that you don't always get what you want, but you'll find sometimes that you get what you need. *resists urge to belt out "You Can't Always Get What You Want"*
Then Toby stops angsting and is all, "Okay, I'm gonna be an awesome king!"
Then we start chapter three and YAY JARETH FINALLY!
Jareth is stuck in his own Labyrinth. He mutters about it being way easier when it did what he wanted it to do. He gets stuck in a trap for a second but squeezes out, bitching about how humiliating this is, and then comments on Sarah's ability to solve the Labyrinth without magic. He's out of the Labyrinth, and then looks on, sighing about what a good reign it was, and wonders how Toby's getting on.
Sigh. We're going back to Toby, aren't we?
Toby is having trouble learning the duties of being king. That's pretty much the next few pages. Then Mizumi shows up and offers to teach him some magic, promising that he could be just as if not more powerful than Jareth.
Because Toby is a STUPID GARY STU protagonist, he gets all excited and agrees immediately. Moppet, who seems to be the only one with common sense, says they're fine on their own, and Mizumi almost removes her mask for speaking out of turn. Moppet speaks privately with Toby, saying she doesn't trust Mizumi and Toby agrees with her, but seems to have a 'keep your friends close, your enemies closer' sort of philosophy. Frankly, with the sort of Xanatos gambit Mizumi's got going, I'd stay the hell away, but like I said, stupid Gary Stu protagonist. Sigh.
Skub becomes Toby's cook. Toby really sucks at Goblin King lessons. Skub attempts to make macaroni and cheese with disastrous results. Didymus teaches Toby to fence. Toby nearly gets the crap beaten out of him by Candlewic, but defeats him at the last possible second through magical means. Toby then goes to Mizumi to have magic lessons.
Mizumi reveals a little about her and Jareth's past. Apparently they were once in love. Then Jareth decided not to be in love (bear in mind, this is from Mizumi's point of view, we'll see the real side of things later) and created the Labyrinth to keep everyone out. His heart is the Labyrinth, and when he let Sarah in, it nearly destroyed him. *coughcoughBITTEREXcoughcough*
Random dumb goblin political meeting. Then to Mizumi bitching about what an idiot Toby is. (That's my complaint too, Mizumi.) Mizumi then says she can't change destiny, but by God, she can outsmart it!
More Goblin King lessons. Toby's getting better. Hana wants him to help her find her wings. He's too busy, Moppet offers to help. Mizumi and Toby go to the Ministry of Prophecies, which looks suspiciously like the Department of Mysteries from the Harry Potter series.
Moppet and Hana find a mysterious room that makes Moppet feel all woozy and remember scary things like Jareth going "LOVE ME!" No, I'm not joking. That's actually there.
They get locked in.
We see a bunch of prophecies that are thinly veiled references to other fantasy books and movies (the Narnia one admittedly made me squee, however) and then we get Toby's prophecy, which is, "When king of old forsakes his hall, and chaos comes to Goblin Town, a human boy shall heed the call, the long-lost heir shall don the crown. A promise of yore, born of blood, will open path to Labyrinth's heart, and usher forth a wondrous flood--a new era then shall start. When friends and family lost and prince rest into dark abyss, the Labyrinth rightful heir be restored by true love's kiss."
Wait. TRUE LOVE'S KISS?! We're--we're REALLY doing the Jareth/Sarah angle? I just want to be clear. TRUE LOVE'S KISS. Remember that. Remember that.
Drumlin then attacks the tower Hana and Moppet are stuck in and Toby saves them using some of his newfound magic skillz. Then Moppet's mask gets broken and we see...Moppet looks just like Sarah! ZOMG! What can this mean?!
I don't care.
But wait! Interesting! We see Sarah chilling in her house, grading papers during a thunderstorm. She pets her cat, decides to make some tea when she hears a knock at the door. She trots to the door...and there is Jareth, who smiles and says, "Hello, Sarah."
Things I liked: The apparent shift in direction to a Jareth/Sarah romance. More fun references to the movie. Mizumi messing with Jareth's head by turning into Sarah at the beginning. The cliffhanger ending.
Things I disliked: Jareth's weird pajamas and pajama hat. The general dullness of this volume. The beginnings of Jareth's backstory, which claims he created the Labyrinth to get away from everyone when it was always Bowie's interpretation that it was sort of forced on him, and he took it up rather reluctantly.