Return to Labyrinth, Volume 1. By Jake T. Forbes. (2006). Illustrated by Chris Lie. Cover by Kouyu Shurei. Los Angeles: Tokyopop. ISBN: 1598167251 or 9781598167252.

Plot Summary

Toby, kidnapped as a baby and held captive by the The Goblin King, is now a teenager. Throughout his life, things have always gone his way. All he had to do was make a wish. But the help he received wasn’t always without consequences… until the day that he decides he is going to do things himself. That is when he finds himself back in the Labyrinth. The very same Labyrinth that his sister had to solve in order for him to return home as a child. But for what purpose?

Critical Evaluation

This is a very quick read, despite the fantasy world you are dropped right into! Fresh new characters from the world of Labyrinth are endearing from the start. Pixie Hana and furry
monster Stank, to name a few! Fans of the 1986 feature film will enjoy the quick recap and cameo of Sarah, the main character from the film. The art also makes the world of the goblins endearing, and Labyrinth lends itself well to the format and style: sweeping and grandiose strokes in graphic black and white.

Sadly, however, there is no artwork by Brian Froud to be found. Fans of the original film may need to seek out other books, such as The Art of Brian Froud, if that is what they are looking for! This is a re-imagining of the world which Labyrinth is based on.

Overall, this story translates well into graphic novel format, but you simply will not be able to stop at the first volume. Luckily, there are only 4 volumes you’ll need to collect to enjoy the full story.

Reader’s Annotation

Be careful what you wish for- you just might get it. Toby is pulled back into The Labyrinth when he follows a goblin who stole his homework. Jareth has massive plans for Toby, which his new friends will help him navigate!

Author Information

Jake T. Forbes has written for other manga series, such as Chobits, Fruits Basket, and Fullmetal Alchemist. He has also worked as a “quest writer” for online MMORPGs. (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games!)

Chris Lee was a well known comic artist in Asia before attending Savannah College of Art and Design here in the states. He has worked on G.I. Joe, Sigma 6, ArashikageShowdown, and Josie and the Pussycats.

-Manga fantasy

-Graphic Novel

Curriculum Ties

-Shakespeare and drama.

-Art and design. Drawing from Nature

-Fairy Tales

Booktalking Ideas

-Have you ever taken the easy way out? How did it pan out in the end?

-Have you ever wanted to escape the pressures of your life and live out a fantasy?

-How is this book like The Wizard of Oz?

Reading Level/Interest Age

Rated “T” for “TeenAge 13+.” Grades 7-10.

Challenge Issues

Just like graphic novels, manga is primarily a visual mode of storytelling, so something which may seem innocuous in print form may be slightly more offending visually.
However, parents can rest assured that if they follow the ratings provided on most manga, the materials should be appropriate for the age groups specified. Manga also allows teens to become familiar with the storytelling style and culture of another country. Materials which support diversity are extremely valuable to our youth, especially in the global society in which we live.

Why did you include this book?

Great cover art, familiar characters, and a recognizable brand makes this series a great introduction to Manga.


About thesuperlibrarian

High School Librarian and obsessive reader! On a mission to read as many SUPER YA books as possible!
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