Melissa Dalton – The worst has happened: the Great Crystal has been shattered and the Skeksis have returned, bringing the Mystic uRus along with them. While things are in chaos, Thurma disappears into the catacombs of the castle with the crystal shard she stole, determined to return to her home in Thra’s core. But before she can make it out of the castle’s tunnels, Aughra’s bat steals the shard and is attacked by skekSil the Chamberlain, who wants the shard for himself. To Thurma’s chagrin, the shard is lost down a crevice in the floor and then snatched up by a Tumbeloth creature before she can get her hands on it again.
Thurma is determined to get her piece of the crystal back again and chases the Tumbeloth to retrieve it, but ends up (literally) running into her new Gelfling friend, Kensho, instead. She is desperate to explain her actions when Kensho discovers the shard, but before he can react, Chamberlain discovers them and the duo flees the castle with the shard in hand.
As usual, the artwork by Kelly and Nichole Matthews makes Thra come alive even down to the tiniest of details. In particular this issue, they’ve done a wonderful job of re-creating the colors of the Skeksis robes as fans will remember them, and if you look closely at the faces of the Mystics, you’ll find them covered in the same detailed, swirling patterns seen in the movie.
The action in the writing really takes off in this issue, and fans will be excited to see that more of the original characters have returned to the series. Since both the Skeksis and the Gelflings want the crystal shard for their own reasons, it will be interesting to watch the power struggle unfold over the next few issues as well. Although the overall story arc has been strong, what’s most curious about this issue is that it deviates quite a bit from the established Dark Crystal canon. In this series, the Gelflings who run the Crystal Castle make it sound as though the Skeksis were simply imprisoned within the Great Crystal when Jen and Kira healed it; but previously, the canon has stated that the uRus and Skeksis were rejoined into their former urSkek selves and returned to their home world once the Crystal was healed.
There are several possibilities for what this could mean. For example, although we see the re-formed urSkeks leave Thra and presumably return to their own world, there are a hundred years of time unaccounted for between the end of the movie timeline and the beginning of PotDC. Anything could’ve happened to the urSkeks during that century that would’ve caused them to return when the Crystal was shattered again. Similarly, we don’t know how their destiny changed once they were split from urSkeks into uRus/Skeksis and then transformed back into urSkeks again. Did these changes somehow eternally tie their fate to the Crystal? If so, this would mean that anything happening to the Crystal itself would also happen to the urSkeks—which means that when the Crystal was shattered (or, effectively, “split”) a second time, then the urSkeks would be too. These are all questions that are worth exploring, and I hope Simon Spurrier dives into these as more issues are released.
Either way, though, PotDC is a strong series that’s worth reading if you grew up loving the world of the Dark Crystal.