Mazebook is the heartfelt story of Will Warren who suffered the loss of his daughter, Wendy, a decade ago. In the debut issue of this mini-series, we saw how much Will had shut himself off from the world, buried in daily routine and repetition. But things took a strange turn when Will received a mysterious phone call from his long-lost daughter. Mazebook #2 sets Will off on his journey as he attempts to unpack the sudden interaction with his daughter and try to find the impossible.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Mazebook #2!
The title and the cover art of both issues so far imply it enough, but Lemire’s motif of mazes is the core of the story here. As Will continues to emotionally recount memories of his late daughter, we learn of her fascination with maze books. Somewhat of a prodigy, Wendy never failed to get to the center of every maze she attempted.
It becomes evident that finding Wendy at the center of either a literal or metaphorical maze is the key. And as we grow curious about where Will is going to start, we learn about his strained relationship with his ex-wife, Elena. With Elena having a new partner and undoubtedly a new life, Will’s sudden visit to her home is unwelcome. But as Wendy is their last and only connection to each other, Elena reluctantly allows Will to explain his recent discoveries.
If you have ever been in a broken relationship, the interaction between the two is familiar. As Will desperately asks Elena to believe him, the tension builds. While one wrestles with the far-fetched hope that Wendy could be alive, the other chooses to hold firmly to the reality that Wendy is truly gone. Neither is necessarily right or wrong. Grief forces many different responses unique to each person, and it’s this raw conversation that makes Lemire’s storytelling so relatable.
In the end, the visit isn’t in vain. Will finds Wendy’s old journals and maze books, in particular, an unfinished maze with an empty center. It’s at this point in Mazebook #2 that the story makes its strange, dreamlike change in tone. However, it’s not long before Will realizes that just below the surface of his reality is another world, emulating the mazes he is finding along the way. It’s only a matter of time before Will gains more momentum and finally reaches his personal reconciliation with his daughter and the answer to the mystery ahead.
Lemire continues to evoke a lonely, solitary world in this issue through mute, monotone watercolors and inks. The freehand style and scribbled lines give Mazebook #2 a gritty look. And with clever panels and wonderful double-page spreads, Mazebook #2 is one of the easiest comics to read, visually. It’s also hopeful to see such a huge change from Will’s slow descent into a depression to a determined search for his daughter, and this crawling transformation is carried through light blues across several panels.
Mazebook #2 is another hauntingly beautiful story that continues to capture the moving love between a father and his daughter, in some of Lemire’s most imaginative and emotional work yet.
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