And The Maze Agency is back again, with Mike W. Barr still writing, of course, but with a fresh new look. Ariel Padilla and Ernest Jocson update the protagonists for the oughts and, wow, are they bland. Padilla tries straight good girl with Jennifer and it doesn’t work. As for Gabe… he looks more like an early twenties male model than a struggling mystery writer.
Yeah, I suppose the ages are the problem. The characters look way too young. There’s also no toughness in Padilla and Jocson’s New York City. It’s post-Guilliani and absent any personality
One last thing on the art. Padilla’s layouts aren’t bad, they just don’t lend to the mystery. Barr’s murder mystery has a lead-in establishing the protagonists and an absurd appearance by the FBI long before the actual suspects show up.
This Maze is without any distinguishing characteristics at all. It’s uniformly undercooked.