Review – Jim Henson’s Beneath The Dark Crystal #1 (BOOM! Studios)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios (Archaia Imprint)
Writer: Adam Smith
Artist: Alexandra Huntingdon
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Release Date: 4th July 2018

Adam Smith and Alexandra Huntingdon follow-up on the events of The Power Of The Dark Crystal with this second sequel to the classic Jim Henson movie.

Jen and Kira are… gone. In the aftermath of the devastation caused by the fracturing of the Crystal and the return of the Skeksis, Kensho has returned to the Crystal Castle and finds his world turned upside down once again when Aughra declares him to be the new ruler of Thra. Meanwhile the realm of Mithra is being rebuilt by Ember Queen Thurma when a rival Fireling steps forward to challenge her rule.

I love The Dark Crystal. I was lucky enough to see it at the cinema when I was a kid and I’m forcing my kids to watch the film as I write this review. I believe that being traumatised by Jim Henson’s on screen creations is a vital part of any childhood. I still have nightmares about Podlings with vacant eyes and the death scene of the Emperor. I was really excited to see the comic sequels coming out and despite the previous efforts just falling short of my personal expectations, I’m still excited to see what this latest instalment has to offer.

If you haven’t read the previous series I’d recommend picking it up too, as while I think you’ll be able to work out what is going on fairly quickly, the world building in Power Of The Dark Crystal is key to what happens next.

As with the previous story the writing promises to deliver an epic adventure but also, much like the previous story, this is only going to be a twelve issue run. The Power of The Dark Crystal was a fantastic tale but it felt a little rushed with the creators trying to fit a sprawling storyline into such a short run of issues, and I worry that this will be the same.

I thoroughly enjoyed Adam Smith’s Long Walk to Valhalla but not so much the work he did on the Labyrinth Special.  It felt a little too much like a parody or a send-up of the original. That being said, I do like Smith’s writing style in this. It really suits the world he’s creating and I think if they gave him a longer run he could create something quite special.

Alexandra Huntington produces panel after panel of Art Nouveau masterpieces that will keep you turning back just to take in more of the detail. Even the panel designs and layouts are beautiful and lend themselves more to a painting in an art gallery rather than a page of a monthly comic. Where The Power Of The Dark Crystal fell down a little in its art was that the Skeksis were too clean and indistinct when they should have been totally terrifying. Alexandra Huntington certainly has it in her to produce something dark and terrifying – her standalone art has some beautiful but disturbing entries so I have everything crossed that when the time comes she’ll thrill us.

In summary then, this first issue is beautiful to look at, the writing is good and, given the chance, this could end up as another fantastic addition to the world of The Dark Crystal.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Alex Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏

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