Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ender's Game: Battle School #1 Review

Written by Orson Scott Card
Adapted by Chris Yost
Art by Pasqual Ferry

As a preface to this review, I'm a big fan of the novel, Ender's Game, which this comic is attempting to adapt. As such, I was pretty leary about even picking this up in fear of it ruining what I considered to be one of my favourite novels.

Thankfully, this comic turned out to be both a faithful adaptation and a solid read and well worth the purchase. It's not perfect, by any means, and I'm not sure how well it stacks up for people that didn't read the novel, as a lot of descriptions and dialogue has been stripped out of these introductions, which probably makes some characters' motivations seem flimsy, like Peter's hatred towards his brother, and the use of some descriptors, like calling Ender a 'third', require new readers to infer what is meant by it with the lack of exposition.

However, as a novel reader, I really enjoyed seeing these characters in comic book form and I think they did a great job with this introduction chapter. They quickly introduce us to Ender, his brother, Peter, and sister, Valentine, and show us his daily life. Ender, a third child in a future where breeding is limited and a third is something you rarely, if ever see, is a brillaint child that was being groomed to be a potential commander of Earth's defenses against an alien aggressor.

The issue started off with him washing out of the program and having his monitor removed from the back of his neck. This was later revealed as a final test for Ender as the lack of the monitor that marked him as 'special' leads to bullies attacking him. The military wanted to see how Ender reacted to this situation and, after swiftly and decisively dealing with the bullies, it is revealed he passed this final test and would be heading to Battle School, ending our issue with him boarding a space ship for transport.

If you've read the novel, it quickly condenses much of the introductory chapters and gets us to the Battle School part of the story by issue's end. Again, for new readers, this may come off as rushed, as even I found it moved a bit too quick with so little room for exposition compared to the novel counterpart, but I still enjoyed the visual representation of the book I loved and think this will only help serve to inspire new readers to check out the novel.

Verdict - Check It. A very promising start to this adaptation and I was quite pleased with it. Very much looking forward to the next issue and Ender's arrival at Battle School.

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