Advance Review: Contestants Take A Quick Breather In `Nature’s Labyrinth’ #3

by Tom Smithyman

And you thought you needed a break.

Imagine being a character in Nature’s Labyrinth, where other contestants as well as the island you are trapped on are all trying to kill you. Halfway through the limited series, and there have already been a number of beheadings, shootings and a particularly gruesome face dragging. Think of it as Survivor. Literally.

After all that, in this issue, the contestants – all of whom have more-than-questionable past lives – find a safe spot where they are required to stop and recharge their batteries. No violence for a few hours, just a respite. But, of course, the minute the time is up, the rule of the game change, and they are confronted with all-new challenges.

The issue, written by Zac Thompson, is interesting enough – in a familiar way. There are the irredeemable contestants who will stop at nothing to win the prize found at the middle of an island that constantly changes to challenge the survivors. There’s the bad girl gone good and her smart but physically inept partner. And, of course, there’s a shadowing villain pulling all the string behind the scenes for her own nefarious purposes.

Perhaps it’s too familiar though. With Survivor on its 947th season and other so-called reality shows ranging from cooking contests to military skills training dominating our screens, how much more do we want to see? Is it possible to give us something we haven’t already witnessed? Maybe not an actual death, as in this series, but that’s about it. And let’s be clear – Squid Game this ain’t.

Artist Baleigh Underwood brings an anime style to the series. It largely works, though it is something of an acquired taste. This issue, in particular, feature a village for the contestants’ respite, which isn’t as visually interesting as the funky island has been in past installments. The bright colors from Warnia Sahadewa help make the images pop off the page.

If this series had debuted 20 years ago, it would have been fresh and exciting. Unless the creative team pulls off the mother of all plot twists, though, the entire genre that could use a break.

Nature’s Labyrinth #3 will be available for purchase on January 18, 2023.


The ultimate survivor contest continues in this issue, with its overly recognizable characters and situations. You need to be a die-hard reality TV fan to find something new in this all-too-familiar story.

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