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Ender’s Game: Battle School #1 [Review]

Creative Director & Executive Director: Orson Scott Card
Script: Christopher Yost
Art: Pasqual Ferry
Color Art: Frank D’Armata
Lettering: Cory Petit
Story Consultant: Jake Black
Production: Irene Lee
Assistant Editor: Jordan D. White
Consulting Editor: Nick Lowe
Senior Editor: Mark Paniccia
Cover: Pasqual Ferry & Frank D’Armata (variant by Emily Warren)
Publisher: Marvel Comics

It’s been a number of years since I last read Ender’s Game. Much as a movie based on a book rarely holds up to the source material, I’ve found that to be the case with most books-to-comics adaptations as well. Still, I decided to give this issue a try, given the source material, and wondering how it’d translate.

The issue opens with a young boy–Andrew “Ender” Wiggin having a monitor device removed from the back of his neck. Though the procedure doesn’t go as routinely as expected, the boy soon returns to class, where fellow students take note of the monitor having been removed. Lacking “status” granted by the device, Ender finds himself having to stand up–alone–to some bullies, and gets away with his fellow students looking at him thrugh much different eyes than earlier. As the issue progresses, we are introduced to the rest of Ender’s family, and the reason he had a monitoring device attached to him, as well as other elements that set up the story.

The art here works well, though it’s not entirely to my taste. The style has the feel of something trying to resemble CGI, or at the least of trying to mimic real life models or of being based on human actors, as a comic adaptation of a movie. That said, it’s quite interesting to put some actual visuals to characters I’ve only previously seen in my own imagination. This version doesn’t match what I’d imagined…but is in the unique position of providing me imagery going in, and as the story progresses, to continue to add to what I recall of the story.

The story is what I remember, though some subtle details I’d forgotten. Having words and pictures rather than just words to tell the story, many details obviously are sacrificed, even as others are enhanced by having visuals to SHOW what’s happening rather than just TELLING. A picture being worth a thousand words and all that, after all.

Overall, not a bad outing for something of this nature. This issue is billed as the first of 5…but from what I can remember of the novel (and that this is subtitled “Battle School”) I get the feeling that this mini-series-to-become-graphic-novel-collected-volume is just the first of multiple arcs that as a whole will give us (at least) a visual AND words adaptation of Card’s original novel.

I think that this might have been better suited for an original graphic novel format, as the story would probably work much better in a much larger chunk all at once instead of the little story segment we have here.

If you’re a particular fan of the novel and eager to read the story in a new format, this issue ought to be worth checking out. If this is a passing curiosity or otherwise…I think you’d be best suited to wait for a collected volume, and go from there.

Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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