Best Shots Extra: Ender's Game: Battle School #1

Chris Yost: Bringing Ender to Comics

Ender’s Game: Battle School #1

Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card

Writer: Christopher Yost

Art: Pasqual Ferry

Color: Frank D’armata

Marvel’s been doing a good job with novel adaptations for a while now, but the form finally meets a source novel that seems perfectly suited to a comic version. Ender’s Game sets a new standard for the transition of novels to comics. Marvel has formulated the perfect creative team for this endeavor, bringing together a writer that depicts convincing young people and an artist that is an outstanding science fiction storyteller. From the wise choice of the stark reproduction of the dialogue on the first page through the rest of the faithful and fast-paced issue, all-involved bring a vibrant quality to the material.

Yost takes his duty seriously, incorporating chunks of dialogue straight from the book while structuring the scenes for maximum effectiveness. Even if you’ve never read the novel, you get a quick understanding of exactly who Ender, Peter, and Valentine are. It’s a somewhat lean, elegant presentation of the characters, using two violent moments that define Ender’s pre-battle school life as set pieces.

On the art, I cannot say enough about Pasqual Ferry. Expression, nuance, action . . . it’s all there. Ender’s fight with another youngster, a pivotal moment, is a furious burst. The later confrontation with Peter visually echoes that first fight in small ways, lending some subtle resonance to a pair of scenes that already had strong parallels. There’s also rich detail in the backgrounds, particularly in the Wiggins home. Ferry doesn’t have to show us some things, but he does in an effort to make the sequences look properly futuristic. He gives us a functional future universe.

Obviously, no comic adaptation will ever replace a novel, particularly one as highly-praised and awarded as Ender’s Game. However, if the goal is to explore the way that you tell a story in another medium, and that you want to tell that story with the best possible talent in the most effective possible way, Ender’s Game: Battle School #1 succeeds brilliantly.

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