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Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure Official Graphic Novel Prelude

An all new, original Maze Runner story set directly before the upcoming third film, The Death Cure. This new graphic novel bridges the gap between the second and third films.

Featuring three stories:
“Prelude” by Eric Carrasco, Kendall Goode, Valentina Pinto, and Jim Campbell.

“The Zealot” by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin, Jackson Lanzing, Nick Robles, Juan Manuel Tumburus, and Jim Campbell.

“A Father of Three” by Collin Kelly, Nick Robles, Juan Manuel Tumburus, and Jim Cambell.

How’s the graphic novel? What if you haven’t seen the movies or read the books? We review it and you can get it now!

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores today. To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon or TFAW

 

BOOM! Studios​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Preview: Maze Runner: The Death Cure Official Graphic Novel Prelude SC

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
Price: $14.99

This all-new, authorized graphic novel bridges the gap between The Maze Runner hit feature films, The Scorch Trials and the upcoming The Death Cure.

They used to live and die by the Maze—a seemingly endless labyrinth of deathtraps that kept the Gladers prisoner and in fear. But the day Thomas arrived, he motivated them all to push back… and escape.

But what they discovered was far worse than any maze—a world scorched by disease and controlled by the oppressive organization, WCKD. Thomas, aided by a band of rebels, now readies to take the fight right to WCKD’s doorstep in the hope of finding a cure for the plague that’s ravaging mankind.

Supergirl S2E19 “Alex” Centers on the Women Who Love Alex Danvers

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In “Alex”Supergirl focuses on the heart of its show, Alex Danvers, played with fierceness, warmth, and a side of sheer terror by Chyler Leigh. But instead of having Alex go on a solo mission or something, writers Eric Carrasco and Greg Baldwin put in her in a cell in the middle of nowhere and have her sister Kara and girlfriend Maggie work against the clock to save her from Jigsaw-like criminal mastermind, Rick (Z: The Beginning of  Everything’s David Hoflin). He also happens to be an old friend from Midvale Middle/High, and a blast from a past bad guy with the simple motivation of wanting to save his  criminal father, Peter, from prison might be just what the doctor ordered for a show which had a human nanobot swarm as the antagonist last week.

Carrasco and Baldwin immediately pit the optimistic, yet less than wary of collateral damage Supergirl against the pragmatic, by-the-book cop Maggie Sawyer in a quick action scene followed by an awkward pizza dinner. Thankfully, Mon-El is sidelined as the goofy comic relief, and the focus in on Maggie and Kara arguing about the ethics of being a superhero. Maggie likes it when Kara helps with aliens and monsters, but wishes she would stay away from human criminals. It’s a similar to the debate between Tony Stark and Captain America in Captain America: Civil War where Cap wants the freedom to make on the fly decisions to save people while Tony wants the the Avengers held accountable. But, luckily, “Alex” isn’t a Civil War ripoff as this ideological conflict reveals the deep love that Kara and Maggie have for Alex, and they show it through doing anything possible to save her, including almost freeing a murderer in jail. They might differ on how to fight crime, but they both care for Alex Danvers very much.

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Rick is an interesting villain of the week. He’s a regular guy with the superpowers of creepily stalking Alex Danvers for the past year and learning everything about her relationships and friends, which is why not even DEO super tech and Martian Manhunter’s shapeshifting can stop him.He also knows Kara is Supergirl because he witnessed her use her powers during a middle school beach trip to save an exploding car. Carrasco and Baldwin hint at Rick having a crush, but he doesn’t kidnap Alex because he has feelings for her. He imprisons her because he is still jealous of her and Kara’s “stable” home life while he had an abusive mother. This is definitely a sad backstory, but he ruins it through his traps and games that take up most of the episode’s running time. I enjoyed how the final rescue doesn’t come through brute force or advanced interrogation techniques, but Kara appealing to the fact that though Peter is a pretty crappy person, he was a good dad to Rick. Usually, Melissa Benoist’s portrayal of hopeful optimism is bright eyed and bushy tailed, but there’s an undercurrent of rage when she holds Rick in her grip and threatens him with her heat vision.

The acting from Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, and in a small, but powerful role, David Harewood is pretty great in “Alex”. Harewood continues to nail the role of father figure and commander as he barks out orders one second and then softens and gives Alex and Maggie a big hug later. Leigh turns a part that could be a cliched “scream queen channeling both fear (Her desperate confessions to Maggie.) and resourcefulness (Cutting into her own body to activate her tracker.) in her performance. Melissa Benoist leans into the wistfulness of Supergirl as she realizes that although she has the ability to fly and maybe even turn back time by flying around the Earth, she can’t save Alex. But when the danger is over, she is back to her goofy self while half-flirting with Lena Luthor about not having kale at their brunch next weekend.

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Floriana Lima also gets to show the softer side of Maggie’s character while also having a pretty epic action jaunt when she breaks into a federal prison with a raygun to rescue Alex even if it means caving to a terrorist’s demands. On the other hand, there is a detective-like precision to the way she delivers her thoughts about Rick and Alex’s kidnapping transforming it from a superhero mission to a very cold case. The almost silent scene that she, Alex, and Kara share at the end is filled to the brim with love, and director Rob J. Greenlea takes some time to soak in the moment after his claustrophobic camera work of Alex almost drowning in a cage.

Running almost in a parallel universe is the B-plot featuring Rhea (Teri Hatcher) trying to get Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) to help her build a transmatter transporter (To cure world hunger, she claims.) and opening a real Pandora’s box of mommy and family issues. During a dinner scene, McGrath plays Lena with a real empathy as she opens up to a woman, who thinks might be the mother she has always wished for. But this ends up backfiring although Lena and Rhea end up working together at the end as Eric Carrasco and Greg Baldwin continued the time honored Supergirl Season 2 tradition of pushing Lena Luthor as close to the edge of evil as possible. Her desire to make L-Corp a company that is the exact opposite of Lex Luthor may come back to bite her.

With a thrilling villainous death trap plot that steers close to the personal, “Alex” is one of the better Supergirl episodes in 2017. Centering the episode on a character that most fans like, Alex Danvers, is a stroke of genius as writers Eric Carrasco and Greg Baldwin use a cuckoo plot to coax out some real feelings from Alex, Kara, and even Maggie with Chyler Leigh, Melissa Benoist, and Floriana Lima creating a wonderful emotional bond as the credits roll.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Sister Power Prevails in Supergirl S2E15 “Exodus”

“Exodus” reminded me of why I loved and started to write about Supergirl in the first place and is the show’s best episode of 2017 so far. It puts Mon-El and Kara’s romance on the backburner, fishes out a criminally underused Snapper Carr (And the talented Ian Gomez, who embodies truth in a single passionate, yet cynical glance.), and best of all, puts the focus on the sisterly relationship between Kara and Alex Danvers. But this episode isn’t just long stretches of Kara and Alex pouring out their feelings, but is filled with some top notch action as writers Paula Yoo and Eric Carrasco and director Michael Allowitz have Alex basically go rogue and take out Cadmus all by herself when J’onn suspends her from Cadmus. Also, in an episode that guest stars TV’s Lois (Teri Hatcher as a mysterious alien) and Clark (Jeremiah Danvers) themselves, the most romantic moment comes from Supergirl catching Lena Luthor after she helps put her on the trail to Cadmus. They don’t get a ton of screen time, but Yoo and Carrasco continue to completely debunk the Luther/Superfamily rivalry and give them a genuine friendship even if they don’t have time for kombucha this time.

Even though Supergirl is pretty damn heroic in this episode carrying a spaceship filled with deported alien refugees (There are tons of political parallels in “Exodus.), the reporter Kara Danvers is pretty flawed. And even though “he’s rooting for her”, Snapper Carr is quick to point out those flaws that include basically only using Supergirl aka herself as a source for her pieces. He might come off as irascible, but Snapper is a true crusader for journalism ethics, which is kind of big deal in a time where journalists from the venerable BBC aren’t welcome at President Trump’s press gaggles.

Snapper humors Kara and interviews “Supergirl”, but she doesn’t reveal that she got information about Cadmus taking the alien registry from the DEO even off the record so there’s no story in his eyes. But Kara goes off the reservation and exposes Cadmus in a blog post. (Sadly not done in WordPress.) She’s a great superhero, but not a great journalist. These series of events causes Lillian and Cadmus to go into hiding, but it costs Kara her job. Now, she has an existential crisis in her civilian position, and you can definitely see the sadness in Melissa Benoist’s eyes as she sits on the window sill in a sequence tearfully framed by Allowitz. It’s a relatable sequence to anyone who has lost a promising job that they were passionate about. And yeah, Mon-El is there to reassure her, but that emptiness is still there as who knows what Kara Danvers is going to do with her life moving onwards.

Continuing the theme of going against authority, Alex Danvers decides to take down Cadmus all by herself. (With a little help from Maggie Sawyer, who is there for the smooching, snarking, and raygun blasts.) Her emotional bond with her father Jeremiah continues even after he steals the alien registry from the DEO, and she continues to passionately hope that there is good in him bringing her into conflict with J’onn and disagreement with Kara. One of “Exodus'” most shocking moments is J’onn shapeshifting into Jeremiah and coercing Alex into “betraying” the DEO by agreeing to team up with him. Thankfully, J’onn walks this back later in the episode after most of everything is set to rights, and their father/daughter relationship is intact.

But before the tearful reunion, we get to see Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima star in the queer, female starring remake of Bad Boys that everyone secretly (or not so secretly) wants. They use some gun play and detective smarts by using their buddy from the alien bar, Brian, to act as bait for Cadmus goons before springing the trap in a thrilling hand to hand combat scene. Then, Alex gets to unleash her inner Splinter Cell character and stealthily infiltrate the DEO and team up with her dad, who is in deep, deep cover and joined Cadmus to protect her and Kara. Alex believes in him so much, and they move fluidly in combat trying to stop Lillian from sending a group of alien refugees to the far end of space before Cyborg Superman has to ruin things. Alex Danvers is a true action hero, and because her abilities don’t require CGI, her fight scenes are better staged with longer takes.

Nonetheless,The Flash and Vampire Diaries director Michael Allowitz brings some powerful visuals to the forefront of “Exodus in both the action and emotion department. Women kicking ass is the throughline of the episode’s setpieces even if Guardian gets a killer save in the early going from Lena tasing her own mom’s goons before jumping off the roof because Supergirl will save her to Lyra saving her fellow aliens while Alex and Supergirl attempt to crash land an “alien ocean frigate”. A group fight scene featuring Maggie, Alex, and Winn at the alien bar is relentless as Alex uses pool cues and whatever she can find to fight off the goons and try to save the aliens from Cadmus. It shows her resourcefulness and that she is willing to do whatever it takes to protect anyone in need. This ruthless pragmatism comes in handy later in the episode when Alex threatens to blow up Lillian Luthor’s top secret base and then sets off some explosives to show her that she wasn’t bluffing. Alex Danvers has a darker edge compared to her adoptive sister, but her relationships with Maggie, Kara, and her father figures Jeremiah and J’onn give a warm humanity to a character who brutally beat a prisoner early on in the episode.

However, Allowitz’s finest moment is a tribute to Star Trek: Wrath of Khan as Alex and Kara touch hands through the glass while Kara strains to prevent the ship with the alien refugees from going into light speed. The shot is a subtle homage to the film, and no one makes a joke about Star Trek, but it’s iconic enough to be shorthand for a lasting bond of friendship that transcends life and death. Blake Neely’s score is also pretty heroic, and Melissa Benoist does these death howls to show much pain she is in while saving this ship. Kara and Alex’s relationship has been the bedrock of Supergirl since Season 1 and centering an episode around it makes “Exodus one of Season 2’s sturdier episodes. They resist authority separately with the help of the women they love (Lena and Maggie) to protect the Earth from an evil, xenophobic organization and then end up saving the day together in a glorious instant.

The past few episodes of Supergirl have focused on romance and villains of the week, but “Exodus” is grounded in the reality of the 2017 albeit through the spaceships and extraterrestrials. Allowitz opens the scene with a moment of broad comedy as a mom and dad sings along to the latest Bruno Mars hit single while the pre-teen daughter makes snarky little comments. But then they are stopped by the police, and the context immediately turns frightening as they are snatched up and sent to Cadmus’ prison base. This is a jarring sequence to watch, especially after the “Muslim Ban 2.0” executive order was signed into law by a man, who thinks that security briefings are optional before sending soldiers to be killed in action, perjury is no big deal, and it’s totally cool to conduct international diplomacy in full view of the public at a Palm Beach club for rich white people while eating wedge salads on taxpayers’ dime. Just like the random aliens that get rounded up in “Exodus”, people are getting snatched up and deported because of their religion and national origin instead of being treated like human beings. This real world connection adds weight to Lillian Luthor and Cadmus’ villainy and makes Supergirl part of the pop culture resistance in a way.

Paula Yoo and Eric Carrasco throw aside most of this Mon-El foolishness for an episode and zero in on the flaws and heroism of Kara Danvers and Alex Danvers through relationships, defiance of authority in various ways that even have negative consequences in the case of Kara’s job, and finally a breathtaking rescue sequence that is one of Supergirl Season 2’s most memorable.

Overall Rating: 9.0

Supergirl S2E9 “Supergirl Lives” Takes the Show to Space with Mixed Results

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Unlike director Kevin Smith’s two stellar episodes of The Flash, his directorial debut on Supergirl is a little bit of a mixed bag. Writers Eric Carrasco, Jess Kardos, and Andrew Kreisberg give the show more of a sci-fi bent as Supergirl (in disguise as reporter Kara Danvers) and Mon-El chase down a lead on a missing girl and end up on a planet called The Slaver’s Moon. They have to liberate a coterie of missing humans from Roulette, played by a woefully underused Dichen Lachman, and the twist is that this planet has a red sun. Without her abilities to back her up, Supergirl relies on her power to inspire  Plus Mon-El has a sketchy connection to the Dominators from the “Invasion” crossover, which could play a bigger role in episodes to come.

The villains of “Supergirl Lives” are kind of an intellectual and physical snore. Roulette seemed otherwordly earlier this season when she was running an alien fighting ring, but being on another planet has kind of ruined her bite. Her scientist henchman is just plain creepy and not really threatening like an annoying guy on a subway whereas the alien guards are there to get punched over and over again by depowered Kryptonians, random civilians, and Winn. But, luckily, Supergirl has a stellar cast, and character development given to Alex Danvers, Winn, Supergirl, and especially Mon-El keeps this episode from being a disaster. Plus Ian Gomez returns as Snapper Carr, and his cynical attitude towards Kara’s reporting skills thaws just a little while he goes on a hilarious rant about wanting to be left alone with his coffee and Danish.

Up to this point, Mon-El was a character that I kind of detested as he came across as an overprivileged douche from another planet and not a good romantic match for Kara. However, in 2017, it seems like the writers have decided to make him a little likable and more heroic while using his laziness and obliviousness to some things on Earth for quick bits of humor. For example, there are running gags involving club soda and Highlights magazine that create a real bond between him and Kara to go along with their teaming up to save runaway aliens. Mon-El truly changes in “Supergirl Lives” as he goes from trying to run through the portal back home to covering the runaways’ escape routes with some well aimed blaster bolts. He is inspired by Supergirl’s optimism and willingness to take multiple energy blasts to become a hero in his own right. But his work ethic is still terrible (He takes a day off on his second day as a bartender who doesn’t know the difference between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.), and his connection to the Dominators is a little unsettling. Maybe, he is not all he seems to be.

Even though they gets the C-Plot of “Supergirl Lives”, Smith, Carrasco, Kardos, and Kreisberg nail the dynamic between Winn and James Olsen with all the fear, anger, and adventure of being a superhero team. The opening car chase scene featuring him, Guardian, and Supergirl gave me chills as Smith ably switched angles to show Supergirl’s epic poses and heat visions before swooping in up, close, and personal for some street level vigilante action. Also, Winn gets his face bruised, and a jewel thief puts a gun to his head.

Even though he’s relegated to comic relief for the most part in Supergirl, Jeremy Jordan channels pure fear in “Supergirl Lives” in the opening scene, and also when Alex decides to take him along as tech support. He kind of nails what I would be feeling if I had to go into action against criminals or aliens with a bit less vomiting and promptly quits being a team with Guardian. However, going on the off-planet mission gives him a surge of confidence that he shows off to James in a meeting where he is ready to go back into action as “Agent Schott, Defender of the Stars”. Alex and Winn have had a special bond in Supergirl, and her little nudge to get him into to go into the field is a nice payoff for this.

As usual, Chyler Leigh gives the best performance of Supergirl and has the most emotionally powerful arc as she struggles with her newfound happiness with Maggie Sawyer. This can be seen in the lighting used by Smith to film the morning after their first sleepover, which is filled with super cutesy, rom com-ish dialogue. But this is kind of the point. Alex has only recently come out of the closet and gone through a crazy “will they, won’t they” thing with Maggie, and it’s nice to have them pleasantly chatting over coffee. However, Alex is new to romantic relationships and feels insecure about letting Maggie into her problems rebuffing her at the DEO when Kara goes missing.

Instead of pointless drama, Carrasco, Kardos, and Kreisberg go for more nuance with Maggie and Alex’s relationship as Alex feels like she doesn’t deserve to have an amazing glow on her face when she describes Maggie as her “girlfriend”. Her work and protecting Kara has been her life so far, and she doesn’t feel like she’s entitled to this kind of relationship so Alex pushes Maggie away when she wants to help her find Kara. However, at the end of the episode, Alex realizes this is kind of ridiculous and has a cute, touching reunion with her where Maggie reveals that she knows Supergirl’s secret identity. There is room for Alex to care for both Kara and Alex in her life.

“Supergirl Lives” has a nifty car chase scene and some great hand to hand fight scenes featuring Alex Danvers, and the red filter used by Kevin Smith and Shamus Whiting-Hewlett brings out Kara’s vulnerability as she and a depowered Mon-El wander Slaver’s Moon. This combined with the strong characterization of Winn and Mon-El along with the continuing acting brilliance of Chyler Leigh balances out a weak bad guy and a yawn of an alien infiltration arc to make a decent hour of Supergirl.

Overall Rating: 7.5

Preview: Sleepy Hollow: Providence TP

Sleepy Hollow: Providence TP

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Eric Carrasco
Artist: Victor Santos
Cover Artist: Joe Quinones
Price: $16.99

Written by Eric Carrasco (Fox’s Sleepy Hollow), and illustrated by Victor Santos (Big Trouble in Little China), this self-contained limited series bridges seasons 2 and 3 of the hit 20th Century Fox television series.

Ichabod Crane is finally getting used to life in modern-day Sleepy Hollow, and with the tragic loss of his wife and son, he now has no ties to his past. But when Jenny, a treasure hunter, uncovers a legendary artifact tied to a mysterious Amish girl and a band of vicious demon bikers, Ichabod, Jenny, and Abbie Mills will need all the power the old ways can provide . . . because it’s time for a road trip to Amish country.

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Preview: Sleepy Hollow: Providence #4 (of 4)

Sleepy Hollow: Providence #4 (of 4)

Writer: Eric Carrasco
Artist: Victor Santos

Final issue! The battle between The Wild Hunt and the Witnesses rages on, with the entire Hexenmeister community caught in the middle.

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Preview: Sleepy Hollow: Providence #3 (of 4)

Sleepy Hollow: Providence #3 (of 4)

Writer: Eric Carrasco
Artist: Victor Santos

The Wild Hunt get closer to the Amish compound that Abbie, Ichabod, and Jenny are staying at, and even the Hexenmeisters’ magic might not be enough to ward them off.

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Preview: Sleepy Hollow: Providence #2 (of 4)

Sleepy Hollow: Providence #2 (of 4)

Writer: Eric Carrasco
Artist: Victor Santos

A terrifying, monstrous biker gang known as the Wild Hunt has marked Crane and is coming after him and the mysterious artifact.

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Preview: Sleepy Hollow: Providence #1 (of 4)

Sleepy Hollow: Providence #1 (of 4)

Writer: Eric Carrasco
Artist: Victor Santos

As fans anxiously await the start of the third season of Fox’s Sleepy Hollow TV show, BOOM!’s got something to tide them over: a new, original story featuring their favorite characters, with Sleepy Hollow team member Eric Carrasco writing.

Jenny returns to Sleepy Hollow with an ancient artifact she’s discovered: a mysterious shard of metal with untold power. But as Ichabod and Abbie investigate, the artifact attracts a demonic biker gang called The Wild Hunt, ready to cut down anyone who stands in their way.

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