As a big Dark Crystal fan since the movie first came out, I admit to feeling some trepidation about new developments with the franchise. I don't want people messing about with things too much in my beloved worlds. I don't want my heroes to be ruined, I don't want the magic explained too much, especially by people who weren't involved at the story's conception. But at the same time, I get excited about the new possibilities, and I really want more stories about the characters I love. So I picked up The Power of the Dark Crystal cautiously.
This comic takes place many years after the events in The Dark Crystal. Peace has been restored to Thra with the healing of the Crystal, and Jen and Kira rule as King and Queen. But as often happens, power has made the gelfings complacent and in some cases, corrupt. We see at the beginning that the world is becoming sick, that the light of the crystal is fading. When the gelflings see this, they demand more offerings from the people of Thra, to make the crystal happy. People line up every day to make offerings to the crystal in order to get a boon, such as healing. We meet a new race of people, the Firelings, who are ailing. They live within the planet, near the core, and a young Fireling, Thurma, has been charged with stealing a shard of the crystal in order to heal the Firelings. The only problem is...well, remember what happened the last time the crystal broke? She breaks the crystal, and boom--instantly we hear the mewling "mmmmMMMMMmmmm" of Skeksis.
So, we have Gelflings who are jerks--corrupted by being the ruling race, to the point where they are bullying other Gelfings, etc. We have an aging King and Queen, who seem to still be kind-hearted, but who are sleepy and complacent, and are letting others become corrupt. We have an adventurous Fireling, who will do anything to save her people, and we have a new Gelfing hero, Kensho, who wants to help do good things, but what IS good? For our old friend, the wise Aughra, knows of a prophesy that says if the Firelings are saved, the world of Gelflings will be destroyed. Yet if the Gelflings are saved, the Firelings will die. How can there be a balance?
Well, the aging and tired King Jen, along with his companion Fizzgig, are about to go on a quest to find out. And as Jen says himself, "...I'm not sure we're the heroes this time."
I was pleasantly surprised with this comic, over all. The writer and artists managed to keep the feeling of the movie, and the personalities of the characters we've known from before remain intact. I'm really intrigued as far as how the problem is going to be resolved in a way that will help both the Gelflings and the Firelings. And I hope the Gelflings mend their ways and discover kindness again. We can see some hope for that in Kensho. It's a great balance of old characters and new that I think will bring in new fans as well as keep existing fans happy. I really enjoyed reading this, and can't wait for the next installment.
Also worthy of a mention is Sana Takeda's chapter break artwork, which has an art deco type feel to it. Gorgeous work.
Melanie R. Meadors is a writer of fantasy stories and comics, her work most recently appearing in the anthologies Champions of Aetaltis and Kaiju Rising II: Reign of Monsters. She is the co-director of the Gen Con Writer's Symposium and the publisher at Outland Entertainment. Melanie also edits anthologies, including Hath No Fury, Knaves: A Blackguards Anthology, and Tales of Excellent Cats: A Monarchies of Mau Anthology, which is set in the world of the popular role playing game, Pugmire. She is a content editor and publicity specialist at the RPG game company Mechanical Muse, and has written game settings for the RPGs Tiny Dungeons 2e and Tiny Frontiers 2e. She is a blogger and general b*tch monkey at The Once and Future Podcast. You can learn more at melaniermeadors.com