Ender Wiggin is a man once lauded as the savior of humanity, then denounced the cruel and heartless xenocide that murdered an entire race. The change was brought about by his own book, The Hive Queen, penned under the title Speaker for the Dead. Three thousand years later, Ender (thanks to relativity and light speed travel) has been called in as a Speaker for the Dead on the small colony Lusitania.

Writer: Aaron Johnston
Artist: Pop Mhan
Inker: Pop Mhan
Colorist: Veronica Gandini
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Black Frog
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Price: $3.99

Previously in Speaker for the Dead: Pipo and his son Libo are studying the native sentient species of Lusitania, the Pequininos, or Piggies, when Pipo discovers what he believes to be the answer to everything and rushes to ask the Piggies. When he doesn’t return, it is discovered that he has been killed and slaughtered in a ritual by the Piggies. This is when Novinha, one of his aids calls Ender to ask for a Speaker. Thanks to light speed travel Ender arrives 22 years later with two more requests, one for Libo and one for Novinha’s husband. Ender also brought with him a super advanced sentient computer and the cocoon that holds the next queen of the species he killed.


We open with Ender talking to a Formic (that’s the species he killed) Queen in space. She tells him that Lusitania is where her species belongs. Ender realizes it is a dream and, in an oddly touching moment, tells her he will look and see. When he awakens Jane, the computer, tells him of the two researches he will be visiting: Miro, the son of Novinha and Marcão who asked him to speak for Libo, as Libo had died much like his father, and Ouanda, Libo’s daughter. Ender needs their permission to speak with the Piggies which, unfortunately, they are unable to grant. While here Ender finds out the Piggies know who he really is, that they’ve been given his book, The Hive Queen, which has become holy doctrine to them, and that he has the Queen with him. Apparently the Queen has been telling them this through the trees.


From here Ender goes to speak with the last person who called for a Speaker, Marcão and Novinha’s family, specifically the eldest daughter. Now we actually get some confrontation. Lusitania is primarily Catholic, as such the man with the most authority is their bishop, and he believes what Ender does is blasphemy. The son, Quim, is very devout and tries to stop Ender, specifically stating that the bishop told them not to cooperate. This amounts to mostly a tantrum as his sister, Ela, invites Ender inside. Once inside though, the youngest son, Grego, attacks him with a kitchen knife, though Ender is able to get the knife away and hold onto him until he won’t attack, resulting in my favorite line, Ender’s response to Grego’s threat of peeing on him, “Pee away, my patience is a lot bigger than your bladder.” We then find out that Marcão beat his family and nothing more here.


Ender’s next visit is the morgue to take a look at Marcão’s corpse. Again he is met with trouble from a Catholic. This time though, Jane deals with it by taking over all the computers and pointing out that Ender is government authorized and could take away the religious rights of the colony. Of course it works and while Ender and Jane examine the autopsy reports we get the issues big reveal, which is only somewhat surprising. From here, Ender realizes his only hope of getting any more info is to talk with the Piggies, but that comes next issue.


The work here is fantastic. From the opening sequence with the Hive Queen floating over a planet to each individual person it looks great. After a close look I can see the subtle differences between the people as well as the family resemblances amongst those who should have them. My only disappointment was a general lack of Piggies in the issue.


I’d never been into the Ender’s Game novels and hadn’t thought of getting this, but I’m glad my friend pushed it on me. I’ve been asking questions about the rest of the series and looking into actually getting the books. I’d say the writer(s) have done a fantastic job of sculpting the series into the genre. Especially with my favorite show don’t tell moment in this issue of the bishop sternly watching as Ender rides past to the morgue. Very solid 4.5 of 5 stars here.

Rating: ★★★★½

The Author

Rob Rasmussen

Rob Rasmussen

I'm Rob. Gamer, geek, student, friend. I'm Trebor Srarcinth, Blazankar Mristari, and Bor, Immortal. You know one, but do you know the rest?

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  1. Beren1
    March 4, 2011 at 11:57 am — Reply

    Once upon a time I read through a portion of the Ender series. I couldn’t get enough of Ender’s Game the first book and was amazed when Ender’s Shadow continued with the same feeling. However once I got a couple more books in it lost the magic for me and I put them down literally where this comic ends.

    That said borrowing this title from Rob was a different story. I think part of what caused me to stop reading the novels was how they dragged on once I started losing interest. The comic however skips right through those part and gets back to the action of the story, it was like reading an entirely different story that kept bringing feelings of deja vu.

    I liked it.

    • Beren1
      March 4, 2011 at 12:04 pm — Reply

      Oh and the supercomputer actually achieved sentience on it’s own from the equivalent of the internet, it was afraid to reveal itself having access to humans knowledge and knowing that humans had just finished wiping out the last sentient species they had come across. However ‘she’ found herself drawn to Ender figuring out he was still alive and very much regretted his part in wiping out the buggies.

      In the end she finds him to keep her safe as a unique species. It has been a while so I might be a little off in the context there but that’s roughly how I remember it.

  2. Irving Forbush
    March 7, 2011 at 10:09 am — Reply

    Looking forward to this. I’ve enjoyed the originals from Card and the later Marvel versions so far.

    The threatened peeing scene had a great Ender quip in the novel too, but it was in response to more than just a threat. I’d hoped that was still in there.

    Like Beren1 says, the later Ender novels are so different from the first, that they’re hardly a continuation. But still enjoyable, in a completely different way.

  3. Damascus
    April 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm — Reply

    Even reading your review of this title, I have no idea what in the heck it’s about. I don’t have any prior information to anything relating to Ender. Speaker for the Dead entails what? Can he literally speak to the dead, or is he working as a Cold Case detective, giving the dead someone to speak on their behalf since they no longer can? I just really don’t know what this is about.

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