In Issue 3
When we last left the Labyrinth, those in control of the game had decided to add spice to the contest by introducing new players. However, they decided to introduce them in a circle of tubes that basically put them in a crossfire. This resulted in situation where there were few places to hide. Fortunately for the original players, the newcomers were not particularly skilled and basically took the majority of themselves out in the hail of bullets. Welcome to Nature’s Labyrinth, Kids.
Sorting Through the Chaos
The few newcomers that remained were confused and trying to sort out the chaos. This left them easy targets for the Sword, who sliced one poor fellow in half, while the Flame made a barbeque out of another short-lived player. As for The Shield, Jane had been the only one smart enough to recognize the danger when the newcomers arrived. She had sprinted off to give herself some distance when the shooting began. With players now scattered, she made short work of a new player who was trying to decide if he should leave his cover. Jane resolved the issue by attacking him from the side and smashing his skull into a rockface. Decision made.
Creating a Distraction
The unfortunate man had been armed with an MP-40 machine gun. Jane picked up a large rock and then used the strap to force the weapon into continuous fire while she threw it toward the Sword and the Flame. They stared at the spinning weapon as they were contemplating their next move. The distraction allowed Jane to fling the rock, hitting The Flame brutally upside his head. As he fell, he accidentally let loose a spout of flame, almost frying The Blade. Jane used the opportunity to leave the area to head to the next check point. This led her to a dead end that dropped to a desert. It looked firm at first glance but when she tried to step down, the sand gave way, and she slid down the loose sand. It deposited her right back into the maze. Figures.
The Kiss, The Silence, and The Terror
Meanwhile, The Terror and his newfound allies, The Kiss and The Silence had run into their own problems. One of the maze walls had caught (The Kiss) Julie Petrakin’s arm. That left Nasir Sarafin (The Terror) and Sofia Ricci (The Silence) to try to figure out how to free her. The only other alternative was to cut her arm off, which is what the two ladies had decided on. Nasir wanted to use that as a LAST resort. He felt like they could somehow pry the wall apart enough to release her arm. They worked together to accomplish this but in springing the wall, the floor dropped out and Nasir fell down into the darkness. Tha game’s announcer said that “The Terror” had been eliminated. That sounded kind of final.
That left Sofia and Julie alone again. Julie’s arm was pretty much useless after being crushed between the heavy stone doors. Sofia tore a piece of fabric from her clothes and made a sling, folding the shattered arm against Julie’s shoulder. For some reason, Julie didn’t seem to feel any pain. Much to their surprise. But they didn’t have time to delay. The next checkpoint was close, and they were going to go for it.
Behind the Scenes
While this was going on, those behind the scenes of the Labyrinth were still pulling the strings. Including putting a drug into the food that Sofia and Julia had been eating. This explains why Julie was feeling no pain from her decimated arm. But regardless the Producer of the contest wanted another main cast member to die. Seeing all of those add-in’s get wiped out wouldn’t do a thing for their ratings. In the end, this was a Game, and it DID have an audience. He needed their inside man, “The Captain” to eliminate one of them.
Leaving a Surprise
While “The Captain” didn’t like being given orders, he knew his job. So, he left a surprise for the girls when they reached the 4th Checkpoint. But there was another surprise also awaiting Julie and Sofia, The Shield. Jane had arrived first and was watching from a hidden position. According to their instructions, they had time to rest. Especially since they believed they had a lead on the remaining players. Julie had found the item “The Captain” had left, a stuffed cat that looked similar to Pancho. She snuggled with it as they drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, the girls rose to continue their journey. Contrary to Sofia’s advice, Julie planned to bring the stuffed cat along with them, calling it “Sushi Nugget.” It was then that Jane appeared, grabbing Julie from behind. However, she only wanted to know what the Cat had told them instruction wise (since Jane had broken her communication device right from the start.) If they told her, she would be on her way. Needless to say, neither Sofia nor Julie trusted her. Which is not that surprising.
The Battle Commences
Jane shoved Julie into Sofia and followed up with a blow to her throat. This knocked the weapon from Sofia’s hand but allowed Julie some distance. She threw her garotte which wrapped around Jane’s arm. Nonplussed, Jane moved forward, headbutting Julie in her face with blood splattering from her nose. Sofia was enraged, claiming that Jane had broken HER nose. Apparently, Julie and Sophia believed they were one and the same. Which might explain why they finished each other’s sentences. Nothing weird there.
The Cat was a Blast
However, when it came to battle, they did work as a team, landing a continuous barrage of punches and kicks into Jane. But just when they appeared to have the upper hand, their volatility showed itself and they started fighting between themselves. All the while not realizing that Julie’s little friend Shushi Nugget’s eyes were counting down. At zero, the cat exploded in a huge fireball. Fortunately for all three combatants, none of them were killed in the blast, but it allowed Jane the advantage and a firearm. He shot both The Kiss and The Silence, eliminating them from the contest.
Returning to the Beginning
With the girls no longer in the game, Jane retrieved one of their communication devices. Pancho came online instructing Jane that she would need to backtrack to where the game started. The beach that they all found themselves on, after the cruise ship. However, Pancho warned that the Maze would be different on the return trip. What else is new?
The Terror Lives
Meanwhile, far below the maze, The Terror had somehow survived his fall. Contrary to the proclamation that he had been eliminated. (Fake news can be found everywhere. Even in game shows.) However, the fall had left him bruised and bloodied as well as broken his Gameboy and the monitoring harness he wore. Well, at least he won’t fall to pieces like The Lure did in the very beginning. But Nasir now had other problems. Apparently, the child who had attacked The Flame in Issue 2 had an attachment to the Gameboy that Nassir had been carrying. And he didn’t appreciate that Nassir had allowed it to be broken…not at all.
The sudden dumping of additional players into the game in Issue 3 didn’t seem to change much as far as the original players. Between the new players becoming cannon fodder for each other and the original players eliminating the stragglers, it proved to be just a minor obstacle. Although Jane DID take advantage of the situation by smashing the Flame in the head with a huge rock. Not that it means anything.
She already used a monitor like a cheese grater on his face without stopping him. And of course, there is The Terror who was supposedly eliminated… but not! At this point, the only players with a high probability of “probably” being eliminated was The Lure (via trying to remove his monitoring equipment) in the beginning and The Kiss and The Silence (courtesy of Jane). The rest? Who knows.
Not Everything Is as It Seems
The results are that writer Zac Thompson and artist Bayleigh Underwood has created a narrative that continues to prove that not everything is as it seems. At least not when it comes to player elimination. That doubt also puts into question whether the winner/survivor has any hope to receive the prize that they seek. But what fun would it be if the solutions were already clear? No worries in Nature’s Labyrinth. However, the answer to these questions is only two short issues away. If you haven’t been following this series, it’s never too late.
Mad Cave Studio’s Nature’s Labyrinth Issues 1-4 by Zac Thompson, Bayleigh Underwood, Warnia Sahadewa and Rus Wooton are now available through Mad Cave’s Subscription site.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 18 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.