Mazebook tells the story of Will Warren, a 50-year-old man who has suffered a great loss and has lived with it for years, slowly dying to the world around him. The irony is that as he crumbles as a person, he works as a foreman on construction sites, building new things. For some reason, I find myself thinking of Ibsen’s The Master Builder, though I don’t see any thematic resemblance other than architecture being relevant to the character and the depths of humanity being explored. Halvard Soleness saw himself as a sort of god; Will Warren most likely no longer sees a god, and if he does, it’s not a pleasant picture of one. Mazebook also has strong ties to fairy tales and children’s stories from my past, which I’m sure, as the story continues, will become far more prominent. I digress…
I have been in Will’s shoes, letting the repetition of days become the only thing moving me forward. It’s depression. It’s tough to pull oneself out of. I found the words in Will’s mind - the colorless images of Will’s world, not even black and white, but a pale off-putting world of blurry figures and not always clearly defined spaces - incredibly relatable. Color is used, but those colors only remind him of what he no longer has and makes going forward more difficult for Will.
Lemire is so good at reaching immediately into the humanity of his characters. The imagery of his loss, the singular memory he holds onto is so effectively used in this one issue. He found an analogy and he leaned into it in all the best possible ways. But wait . . . by the end of the issue, we find out that not everything may be as it appears, and then I remembered the name of the book, and I got chills as the larger metaphor and potential adventure filled my imagination.
This is a fantastic first issue. It’s simple, elegant, and brings us so cleanly into the world and mind of the protagonist that you naturally want to continue onward.
Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (script, art), Steve Wands (letters), Daniel Chabon (editor), Chuck Howitt and Konner Knudsen (assistant editors), Tum Muller (design) Josie Christensen and Cary Grazzini (digital art technicians)
Publisher: Dark Horse
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