Jim Hensonís Legends of the Dark Crystal

The Garthim Wars: Volume 1

Written By: Barbara Randall Kesel

Illustrated By: Heidi Arnhold and Max Kim

Cover Art By: Jae-Hwan Kim

Published By : TOKYOPOP

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            About a month ago, I wrote an article about the 25th Anniversary Edition soundtrack of The Dark Crystal, a landmark movie from Jim Henson and Frank Oz.  For those of you who donít remember, this fantasy film hit the theaters in the early '80s and featured nothing but puppets in an epic tale.

            In conjunction with the release of the 25th Anniversary Editions of The Dark Crystal DVD and soundtrack, TOKYOPOP has released an all new manga series based on the film.  Jim Hensons Legends of The Dark Crystal The Garthim Wars Volume I tells the tale of two young Gelfling survivors, who decide to take action and turn the tables on their attackers.  When I received a copy of the first volume of this new manga series, just by looking at the amazing cover art by Jae-Hwan Kim, I knew I was in for a treat.

            Lahr, a young Gelfling shepherd was out tending to his herd when Garthim, creatures sent by the evil Skeksis raid his village and destroy all he holds dear.  They leave no bodies behind as the Skeksis have ordered that all Gelflings be brought to the Crystal Palace, their essence used to feed the Emperor.  While sifting through the destruction, Lahr is attacked by a Garthim and as rage at the loss of his people overcomes him, Lahr does something that no Gelfling has ever done before.  He fights back and eventually kills the Garthim.

            Amazed at what he has just done, Lahr is determined to spread the word and warn others of the Garthim attacks.  Along the way, he meets a Gelfling female, a tapestry weaver named Neffi.  She, too, is the only survivor of an attack on her village.  Together, they seek out neighboring villages to warn them of the attacks.  They soon find a Gelfling community hidden deep in the mountain crevices.  Can Lahr and Neffi convince a peaceable community of Gelflings to defy their ancient ways of living and wage war against their attackers?

            Jim Hensonís Legends of The Dark Crystal: The Garthim Wars: Volume I surprised me.  Even though I was intrigued by the idea of a Dark Crystal manga, I never expected to fall in love with the story.  Barbara Randall Keselís writing took me back 25 years to the original movie.  The artistry of Heidi Arnhold and Max Kim added to Keselís writing gave me the feeling of experiencing a deleted scene from the original movie.  I was so interested in the adventures of Lahr and Neffi that I was actually upset when I realized I had reached the last page!  I wanted more. 

            In addition to the main story spanning 6 chapters and 170 pages, readers are treated to a guest gallery in which several TOKYOPOP manga artists try their hands at various individuals in the Dark Crystal universe.

            Priced at about $10.00US, Jim Hensonís Legends of The Dark Crystal: The Garthim Wars: Volume I is a veritable steal.  This manga offshoot provides a new adventure with new characters to love all based within the scenery of an old favorite.  As I stated earlier, itís like watching deleted scenes from the original movie unfold before you and who doesnít like to watch deleted scenes.  The storyline is engaging, the art terrific - Jim Hensonís Legends of The Dark Crystal: The Garthim Wars is one manga series worth checking out!


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