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Return to Labyrinth Volume 4 (Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth) Paperback – August 3, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Jim Henson's Return to Labyrinth
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: TokyoPop (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427816875
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427816870
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jake T. Forbes freelance writer and erstwhile manga editor who has covered, created and curated tales of the fantastic for the past ten years. His ongoing original graphic novel series, Return to Labyrinth, has been a sleeper hit in the manga/YA graphic novel scene, with the latest volume landing at #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list. In 2003, he managed the editorial side of Tokyopop's "manga revolution," the transition to serialized graphic novels published the Japanese way that spurred the "manga boom" that has been a publishing phenomenon ever since. As Senior Editor at Tokyopop and Editorial Director at GoComi, and as a freelancer for VIZ Media, DC Comics' CMX imprint and Marvel Comics, Jake has edited or adapted over 400 volumes of comics from Japan, Korea and France including Fullmetal Alchemst, Fruits Basket and Chobits.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Keri on January 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a couple of other reviewers pointed out Forbes also does the cardinal sin I've seen far too many times of taking one of the very few mythic heroine journey stories made in the west and and gives it over to a lackluster male character who was just intended to be a plot device. American male comic and cartoon writers in particular cannot seem to stand having a female character be the center of a mythic or heroic journey story- re the appalling American adaption of CLAMP's Card Captor Sakura: Cardcaptors- which turned Sakura into a secondary character in her own series and turned Li, the secondary male character and Sakura's rival/eventual love interest into the main character.

The female mythic journey ends, as even most male Japanese manga writers know, with the heroine together with the one she is in love with, and the bond between the two takes on a magical, spiritual as well as sensual romantic tone. (Despite the many issues with the Twilight series- especially a bad message for girls about being traditional and very passive, Myer at least has some understanding of the end of the heroine's mythic journey- this is why the series is so popular with American girls and women.) Forbes really dropped the ball, missing not only the mythic journey meme but even dropping the ball and grossly copping out the the occasional steps he made toward getting the movie story and getting Sarah's version of the mythic heroine's journey.

Then there is Toby himself, he is a dull, lackluster character who Forbes even admits is a fictionalized version of his teenage self, and even admits the character is lackluster. In other words Forbes committed another writer cardinal sin- made a Gary Stu (the male version of Mary Sue)character the absolute center of the story.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By G. M. E. on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
This story had quite a bit of potential - there were many plot elements that I truly liked. And that is the very reason why I'm so disappointed with way this series concluded. I did my best at being patient, and put up with many things I felt did not fit the spirit of Labyrinth, hoping that this investment would at least pay off in some way at the end. But, I can't find it in my heart to accept that this story is in any way connected to the Labyrinth universe - I regret feeling that, but it's true.

Here are more specific reasons why, but please be warned, there are spoilers:

1. Lack of character development in the protagonist - Toby adds very little substance to the story and is not a character readers can connect with in any significant way. I held on to hope that by the fourth book, he would have been a complex character with hopes, dreams, and desires quite like his sister did in the movie, but he seems little more than the same angsty teenager that can be found in plenty of other stories. He doesn't even fulfill his role as the main character - he does not resolve any of the final conflicts, specifically with the main antagonist Mizumi. All he does is create problems that the supporting characters have to overcome, meanwhile whining about why HIS life is so difficult. I don't know why Sarah even bothered trying to rescue him in the movie - she should have let Jareth turn him into a goblin after all - no doubt he would have been more useful in that form than the one he's in now.

2. Story structure - many storylines did not even get fleshed out - like another reviewer stated, the lizard characters seemed like they had their part to play, but we never got to find out what that was.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Shelley on September 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Return the the Labyrinth Vol. 4 is not the worst manga ever, but it is mediocre at best. If you have the first 3, you'll probably want to buy/read this just to complete the set.

Long story short, Return to the Labyrinth has fallen into the same trap many other sequels have - rehash the same series of events with a few new names but no real new substance, and less heart than the original. Several storylines are hastily, lazily, poorly wrapped up. We're told, rather than shown the meaning behind the events. And the writer seems to think taking lines directly from the movie, and using them in the sequel is cute. It's not. It's usually not. It only works if done in a kitchy way, such as how Phineas and Ferb episodes have a few variations on phrases that are used in most episodes, or Jack's rum-focused lines in POTC. If you overdo it, or try to have it really mean something significant, as the writer does in this book, it just looks cheap and lazy.

The art is not Labyrinth-worthy. Why they didn't have the person who did the covers (which were awesome) do the whole book, I don't know. The actual story-art is roughly on par with something in the weekday comics. Not to say simplistic comic drawings are bad - the Peanuts style is simplistic but iconic. But Peanuts and other such comics are attempting something different. The Labyrinth is a place that should be intricate and beautiful. Even the ugly goblins and such are not ugly in a lazy way in the movie - they have lots of detail. And hey, the artist can draw better than I can, but it's just not "Labyrinth." They really should have made sure the art was worthy of the Labyrinth.
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