Thursday, March 10, 2011

Graphic Novels - Ender's Game: Battle School

When I heard that there was a comic adaptation of one of my favorite sci-fi novels, I was absolutely ecstatic. I had every expectation that Marvel would not fail in creating a faithful representation of a story so well known and acknowledged in the literary community. Luckily, Marvel did not let me down.

War never changes. This is what drives the story of Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game. Originally written as a short story in 1977 by Card, it wasn’t until later that he novelized the story to provide more depth for the characters. Instead of kids playing cowboys and Indians though, it’s now astronauts and Formics (the main alien antagonists). It’s also these children that Earth will rely on to replenish their forces to defend Earth. The story follows a child named Ender Wiggin, as he tries to survive the physically challenging and soul-wrenching Battle School. Yet what nobody knows though is that Ender could very well be the key for mankind’s survival against the Formic threat. Ender’s Game: Battle School not only represents the first-half of the novel well, but is also a prime example of how well a novel can be transitioned into a comic.

Whenever I begin reading any comic based on a novel, I always question whether the original source material would be useful in providing the dialogue for the comic. Fortunately, Christopher Yost does a fantastic job in scripting the dialogue and transitioning the original source material. The writing is engaging and captivating enough to keep the reader reading on and throughout the story it will make you question the morality behind the concept of the Battle School. Most importantly, the writing makes the characters relatable and the personalities of the characters are very well presented. In order to make a comic adaptation what it is though you need to have an art style that can be just as captivating as it’s writing.

Thankfully, Pasqual Ferry and Frank D’Armata do a perfect job in representing the settings of the story. The art style is equally engaging as the writing. The colors used to depict the futuristic setting can range anywhere between the warm yellow-green colors seen in nature to the cold grey-black of metal and space. All of this is done in a realistic manner that fully represents the futurism of the novel’s setting and makes for a beautifully drawn comic.

I cannot fully express how much I love this comic, but do not take my personal opinion as the primary reason I’ve given as much praise as I’ve had. As a graphic novel, this comic is a wonderful example of how well one can be made. The writing is clear, captivating, engaging, and most of all relatable. Which is reinforced by how beautiful the artwork is. Much like the writing, the art is captivating enough to keep the reader going on and creates a believably stunning futuristic setting. All these qualities go a long way towards showing just how well this graphic novel was put together. You can find this great read in the graphic novel section on the second floor of the LRC today!

Overall Score – A+

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