Comico; $1.95

Before Maze Agency arrived on the scene, writer Mike W. Barr had already written the limited series Camelot 3000, and launched Batman and the Outsiders, among many other projects. When the December 1988 cover-dated issue arrived, though, artist Adam Hughes wasn’t a household name.

That of course changed in short order. And I’ve always believed that while Maze Agency wasn’t the most high profile gig ever, it did start building Hughes a fan base right away, and it began with the cover. It captures the feeling of Moonlighting or Remington Steele, both hit programs back when, playing on a romantic take on a crime theme.

The writing, no surprise for Barr fans, was great. It was lively, entertaining, and suspenseful. 

The line work was beautiful. It wasn’t Adam Hughes as we recognize his work today, but it was distinctive and it was also different than just about anything else on the stands at the time. That’s what caught my attention and held it not only for this issue, but for most of its run. 

Maze Agency lasted seven issues at Comico before they substantially cut back their line, then quickly landed for a healthy run at Innovation. Barr also briefly revived the series with three issues in 1997, and then came back for a miniseries at IDW Publishing. More recently, Maze Agency was a one-shot from Scout.

Later Mike W. Barr wrote the “Batman: Year Two” story arc in Detective Comics, “The Mirror Universe Saga” in DC’s Star Trek comics, the graphic novel Batman: Son of the Demon, and created Mantra in Malibu’s Ultraverse line, and many other stories since Maze Agency #1.

Adam Hughes has gone on to become Adam Hughes.

– J.C. Vaughn