A lonely building inspector still grieving the loss of his puzzle-loving daughter receives a mysterious phone call one night from a girl claiming it’s her and that she’s trapped in the middle of a labyrinth. Convinced that this child is contacting him from beyond this world, he uses an unfinished maze from one of her journals and a map of the city to trace an intricate path through a different plane of reality on an intense and melancholy adventure to bring his daughter back home. Looking for your emotions to take a hit on New Comic Book Day? Well, then look no further than Jeff Lemire’s Mazebook issue #1.
Art and Story by: Jeff Lemire
Letters by: Steve Wands
Lemire returns to his roots of Essex County, Frogcatchers, and Underwater Welder, and creates a new world written and drawn by Lemire himself. With letters from Steve Wands, Mazebook issue #1 from Dark Horse Studios is a haunting look into how someone can deal with the loss of a loved one and the daily grind of trying to remember or forget them.
Over the 40 plus pages of the first issue, we follow Will as he navigates life, a job, and a minimal to none social life. All the while learning tidbits about what makes Will the way he is. It was cathartic watching Wills journey in issue #1, and Lemire tells the tale in such a way that we get the realism of loss and hurt, but also a physiological and maybe supernatural element that adds intrigue to a fairly standard story. The story over those 40 plus pages moves along at a nice pace, and by the end, I was looking back over the pages for hints and subtle choices Lemire might have made to reveal the exit from the Maze.
That’s where this story will prolong its enjoyment for the masses. The mystical and supernatural elements to Will’s story are exciting, and with them comes the idea that the hurt and loss he feels will find meaning and possibly hope.
Lemire’s art style works for his more somber stories. Sweet Tooth, Essex County, and more. It’s great to see his words and story alongside great artists like Andrea Sorrentino or Gabriel Walta. Still, a more visceral and real story is amplified by the watercolors and dark, ominous tones of Lemire’s style. Steve Wands’ letters work brilliantly alongside the slow-moving and dingy street panels. Simplicity at its finest.
Would you forget the ones you loved and lost, and if so, how would you try and remember them? Is forgetting the ones you lost worse than losing them in the first place? Lemire asks the questions in one of, if not his best first issues as the sole creator. Mazebook #1 is a haunting look at loss that only a few comic books care to entertain or succeed at.