By Laramie Martinez
Simon Spurrier. Kelly Matthews. Nichole Matthews. Those names should already tell you the level of quality you’re going to get with this book. The Power of the Dark Crystal #1 is set after the events in the movie The Dark Crystal. But you don’t need to see the film to understand what’s going on here its premise is handed to you at the beginning of the issue. For me the setting was only vaguely familiar as I did watch the movie as a kid, but it’s been several years since I had seen it. I was expecting a lot of fan service, little winks and nods to the audience like what you see in most movies or comics which lean heavy into nostalgia. I’m happy to report this book doesn’t do that. It feels like a fresh story that just happens to take place in the Dark Crystal Universe.
The opening narration of this issue is a little heavy handed. I don’t know how many times I saw the words “A hundred years ago” but after the third time my mind started to skim over it. Aside from that, I enjoyed the rest of the issue. I was surprised by the decisions Spurrier made here. The main character, Thurma, is a wild and surprising character for the series. A traveler sent from another world/dimension, she is literally made of fire, which in a franchise that doesn’t have any sort of tie to elementals or the elements in general, is a pretty bold step. It’s an Adventure Time level of randomness that Spurrier managers to pull off through his dedication to the character. For instance, the flames and heat that envelope Thurma aren’t just for show, they affect her every move and decision as she tries to navigate through the world. It’s great to see a character whose physical traits are more than just a shallow display but a real characteristic which shapes how she interacts with others.
The Matthews Sisters once again create some stunning work. It is a refreshing departure from what we usually see in the fantasy genre. You won’t find heavy lines and a recycled color palette here. This issue feels vibrant and dreamlike, which matches that blend of myth and strangeness I remember from watching The Dark Crystal as a kid.
I don’t know what space The Dark Crystal occupies in most people’s minds, Personally, I don’t think there is enough of a dedicated fan base for this to hit a widespread nostalgic spot for readers. However, I do think that this series has the potential to be something interesting for anyone who likes fantasy.
The Power of the Dark Crystal #1
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artists: Kelly and Nichole Matthews
Publisher: Archaia/BOOM! Studios