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.
ORSON SCOTT CARD’S SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD #2
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
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.
WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?
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.
SPACE BUGS AND ADORABLE PIG PEOPLE
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.
BOTTOM LINE: BY ALL MEANS
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.