Maze Runner: The Death Cure Official Graphic Novel Prelude SC
 
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Eric Carrasco
Artist: Kendall Goode
Colorist: Valentina Pinto
Letterer: Jim Campbell

Review by Anelise Farris 

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Official Graphic Novel Prelude is not an adaptation of any of the Maze Runner books by James Dashner. Instead, this is a totally new story that is intended to help fill in the gaps between the second and third films: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015) and the upcoming Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018).

Before diving into Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN, let’s recap a bit. In the first book, we meet Thomas: a 16-year old boy who arrives in a place called the Glade. Thomas has no memory of who he is, but he quickly learns that he’s not the only one to have this experience. Every month, a new member arrives, and that person becomes a Glader: someone who runs the Maze, looking for escape routes, all while trying to avoid being stung by a Griever (a deadly organic-mechanical creature that it is pretty terrifying, to say the least). Thomas decides that this is no way to live, and he takes charge, encouraging the fellow Gladers to fight back.

Mild spoiler if you haven’t read the books, but this is necessary information to know before discussing Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN: Thomas and the Gladers escape (though not all survive). However, if you thought this was a happy ending, think again. Thomas and co. leave one world just to discover that the “real” world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland that is being run by a wicked organization named—you guessed it—WCKD. The world has basically been overrun by a terrible plague (termed “The Flare”), and Thomas does what he does best: motivates his fellow Gladers to join him in trying to find a cure. WCKD has been doing this too, sort of, but with no regard for human life—using the Gladers as test subjects, basically like animals at a lab: rats in a maze.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN begins with Gally, a character who has made some pretty bad decisions but was completely absent from The Scorch Trials. This is not just Gally’s story however, and the graphic novel does a good job of splitting up its time among the various characters as they are searching for Minho. There is a lot of focus, of course, on Thomas, and especially his relationship with Brenda, but the rest of the characters aren’t neglected. Speaking of Thomas and Brenda, Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN does an amazing job of highlighting the romantic tension between them and how Thomas is having trouble moving on from Theresa.  

The art is primarily realistic, just growing slightly more cartoonish when we zoom out from the characters. The realistic art was a smart choice as it speaks to the gravity of the situation and really highlights the emotion on the characters’ faces. Similarly, Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN does an incredible job of including lots of face closeups, which helps to keep the story character-driven (a strength in Dashner’s series overall). The simple one-color backgrounds for the character-filled scenes also help with this, as they save the more ornate heavily-detailed art for the landscapes. Oh, and did I mention how creepy the plague-ridden zombie-esque people (Cranks) are? It’s fantastic.

Verdict: Buy it!

I always enjoy a good dystopian, and Maze Runner ranks up there with my favorites. It’s a god-game story done exceedingly well. And, the team behind Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN do a great job keeping the tone of Dashner’s series alive, creating a fully-developed world featuring the beloved book characters. For those who have read the series and/or watched the films, Maze Runner: The Death Cure GN is a special treat as we wait for the next film installment.

Anelise Farris
farranel@isu.edu
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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