Written by Alan Grant with artwork by Arthur Ranson this long awaited collection includes all three of the story arcs originally published in 2000AD, “The Hanged Man”, “The Dark Man” and “The Hell Maze”. Apparently the publishing of this collection was the result of an internet campaign from fans to get Rebellion to put it out. Don’t know if that’s true but whoever’s call it was…. good call.
The premise of this book is that a convicted and sentenced man awakes post-hanging in a world where both the architecture and general society are all shaped around the concept of mazes. The hood and noose around his neck, which he is unable to now remove, cause the people to proclaim him the “Hooded Man” of prophecy and as you would expect it all kicks off from there. I don’t really want to go into the story more than that as I read this with ZERO prior knowledge and really enjoyed the ride. The story manages to deal with the fantastical and mythical without getting all flowery and the artwork while very different in style to typical comic book art is beautiful. There are some double page splashes of the city where the level of detail is almost breathtaking.
The main character is less of a hero than a criminal caught up in circumstance. I liked how he didn’t just arrive on this world and suddenly decide to be the good guy, he just doesn’t have any choice other than to go in that direction. The plot device used to steer him towards good is particularly clever and effective.
Overall this had a bit of The Prisoner’s surreal weirdness to it but in a Robin Hood/Prince Valiant type world, though my thinking this may be the result of the classical art style used. If itwere being published for the first time now I would expect comparisons to be drawn between this and the Assassin’s Creed games as it has the similar concepts of dual realities each affecting the other. It was a sign of how good this was that I was enjoying the “real world” portions just as much as the Mazeworld ones.
As I said, prior to reading this I knew nothing about Mazeworld other than it had a bit of a cult following. I can now understand why and while it does feel more like a European book than a 2000AD reprint I would still totally recommend this to anyone unfamiliar with the title. Those of you who are familiar with it have probably ordered it already.
Release details :
Released on 10th November