It’s harder than it should be to write a review of the graphic novel adaptation of “Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal.” The book is good. And if you are a Jim Henson fan, or a Muppets fan, or even moderately enjoyed the original film, you should read this. It’s good. The art’s good. The dialog’s really good. The story telling is good, but maybe a little weird—but you are familiar with the 1982 source material, aren’t you?
It’s a great comic. Read it. The rest of this review is just the musing of a madman who spends far too much of his time combing through the Tough Pigs archives.
There is a torrid history of the Power of the Dark Crystal project, and the Muppets Wikia covers that nicely. But what it doesn’t stop to ask is the most important question any fan needs to stop and ask themselves when considering consuming sequel to an iconic childhood franchise: Are you sure you want to go back there? Are you sure that you want to revisit the world that, frankly, was fairly well and truly resolved at the end of the first story?
If there is any criticism to lob at the Power of the Dark Crystal, it is that the story’s very existence requires changing the world and the characters in it for the sake of a new story. Readers who are willing to acknowledge a sequel can exist are, necessarily, willing to give up the closure that made the end of the first story so satisfying.
The good news is that the opportunity to revisit the world of the Dark Crystal is a chance undertaken intentionally. The writers of the unproduced screenplay and comic take on the challenge of telling a new story in this world. In so doing, things that have stood still in fandom’s mind for the last 30 years are going to change. And that’s kind of scary.
And they do change. Oh yes they do.
“The Power of the Dark Crystal” returns us to the triple-sunned world, now crawling with Gelflings. And issue one introduces us to a very different Jem and Kira than you last saw together 30 years ago at the end of the film. Issue one also introduces a character from the brand new race: Thurma, a member of the Fireling clan. Aughra (the witch with the box of shards in the first film) makes an appearance. And finally, Issue 2 promises us that some familiar villains are on their way back.
Good stuff. Good Stuff.
Here’s the thing: This comic series is an adaptation of the proposed sequel that languished in development for a long time. And here it is. In comic book form. And let’s be honest: This is probably the only way the story was ever going to make it to us.
And that’s great. We have ten more issues to go. And we have every faith that there is more than one story in a world as rich as the world of the Dark Crystal.
Recommendation: Buy. Read. Buy Again.