Graphic novel review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Chris Yost, and Pasquale Ferry

Cover of the "Ender's Game" graphic novel adaptation.
Cover of the “Ender’s Game” graphic novel adaptation.
The Ender’s Game graphic novel is based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, with a script by Chris Yost and art by Pasqual Ferry. One of my friends, Jake Black, was a story consultant on the project as well. It is very similar to the recent film in what was excluded from the novel in adapting it to a more visual medium.

Ender Wiggins is a genius 6-year-old boy tapped by the International Fleet to attend Battle School in preparation for the anticipated third invasion of the Formics, an insect-like race which had almost destroyed the humans in two previous invasions. Battle School trains the best and the brightest to be able to eventually lead the humans in a plan to take the fight to the Formics instead of simply waiting for another invasion.

Ender is purposely ostracized and pushed harder than any other cadet because his superiors believe he has the best chance of actually winning the coming conflict, and they want him to learn to rely on himself and not expect any help. Time and again, Ender exceeds their expectations, and he’s eventually promoted to Command School.

Now, I need to state right off that the art style used in this adaptation is not my favorite. That said, I think Yost and Ferry did a very good job with the adaptation, and both the art and the dialog work very well. Ferry has a great command of depicting action and movement, and he uses it expertly here.

The colors used are bright and easily catch the eye, so kudos to Frank D’Armata for that. While the colors are not generally what a military organization might use (they tend toward the drab in most things), they make it easy to differentiate characters in what might otherwise be an overly-complicated and busy CG color palette and background scheme.

There are a few scenes which push it toward an older teen audience. Ender is in a couple fights on Earth and in Battle School where he is very brutal to his attackers, and the artists do not flinch in presenting those scenes very graphically. Ender also has a couple dream sequences containing graphic violence and disturbing images.

Ender’s Game is a compelling story regardless of the medium. While this is not my favorite due to the stylistic concerns I mentioned above, I still give these artists high marks for choosing the right scenes to include and not watering down the story with needless “artistic interpretation”. This is a good adaptation.

Release Date: September 24, 2013 (USA)
ISBNs: 078518533X (9780785185338)
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment

MySF Rating: Four point zero stars
Family Friendliness: 70%


Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (medical)
Language: 2 (some expletives and harsh language)
Nudity: 1 (some shower scenes during a fight, bums, no frontal)
Sexuality: 0
Violence: 4 (graphic and bloody fights with both humans and animals, graphic surgery depiction)

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