by Gavin Johnston on October 03, 2018

Writer: Alan Grant
Artist: Arthur Ranson
Letterer: Elle De Ville
Publisher: Rebellion

When Adam Cadman is hanged for his crimes, he finds himself trapped in a bizarre otherworld, not sure if he’s alive or dead. Mazeworld is a fantasy story set in a magical land where the whole world is a series of mazes. Whole cities are labyrinths, and those who hold maps hold the power. A rebellion is underway to capture power from the Evil Lord Raven, and Cadman finds himself playing the role of the Hooded Man, the rebel’s unlikely saviour.


Lost in this maze, Cadman tries to escape. But is he safer here, or back in the real-world where he’s supposed to be dead? Labyrinths have played a role in human culture for centuries; A place to trap evil spirits, or to test the problem solving skills of rats. A gateway between worlds, or a journey to discover oneself. Is the Mazeworld just the fantasy of an oxygen deprived brain, or another realm of existence?


Originally printed in the pages of 2000AD over three series in the 1990s, Mazeworld is collected here in a single volume, just short of 200 pages, and in a slightly larger format than previous editions.


Writer Alan Grant apparently set out to write the story for a computer game, sending some early stories to artist Arthur Ranson. Ranson expanded upon Grant’s initial ideas so much, that any plan to produce a game was abandoned, and Mazeworld was written expressly for Ranson’s art style.


Arthur Ranson is probably most well known for his realistic depictions of people and places, such as in the recently reprinted Beatles Story. Here’s he delivers a dream-like kingdom. Mazeworld is a mixture of high fantasy and Incan architecture, a place of medieval knights, giants, and dragons. At times, panels layouts themselves become a maze. At others, vast living landscapes are delivered in double-page spreads.


Fantasy genre is often weighed down by the tedious info-dump, where the action stops so history and politics can be explained. Mazeworld doesn’t bother with all that nonsense. Like Cadman, the reader is thrown into this world, and just needs to keep up. As the world gets stranger, and more dream-like ideas are added, Mazeworld never makes excuses or apologises for its more absurd elements.


Our Score:


A Look Inside