The Game Begins... is a ten page comic adaptation of the first episode of Ace Lightning illustrated by Mike Bowden. It is split into five parts, each consisting of two pages, and contained within the Ace Lightning Yearbook 2003.
The comic follows the plot of the first episode, reduced to ten pages. Mark Hollander is playing his video game, when a bolt of lightning strikes his house, bringing the characters of the video game to life. Lord Fear and his band of villains arrive first, followed by the Amulet of Zoar which splits into pieces and fly off. Ace Lightning arrives and fights the villains, until Mark arrives to help Ace prompting the villains to flee. The villains come across The Kent Bros. Carnival and convince Duff Kent to allow them in. Ace surprises Mark in the morning as he goes to school meeting Chuck Mugel, Samantha Thompson, Wayne Fisgus and science teacher Horace Cheseborough. Ace and Mark talk after school, Ace giving Mark his piece of the Amulet for care. At the carnival, Lord Fear and Lady Illusion ambush Ace and capture him, the comic ending on a cliffhanger, advising the reader to watch the show.
Notes of Interest
A number of errors are in the comic, likely due to the style of drawing.
- The computer screen with the Level 7 message is very basic, but uses the same font as the one in the episode.
- Lord Fear lacks his monocle, and Anvil, Pigface, and Dirty Rat all appear more demonic than usual. Anvil is particularly different, wearing brown clothes and looking less humanoid. Pigface and Dirty Rat also look more monstrous in appearance.
- Lady Illusion is not green.
- All of the villains have red eyes.
- The sky is clear with a full moon, so the lightning bolt's source is unknown.
- The portal used by the characters is a flash of yellow light and not inside a satellite dish.
- Fiona Hollander appears in silhouette but has a ponytail.
- In one panel, Lady Illusion has slitted pupils.
- Whilst confronting Duff, one of Lady Illusion's sleeves is missing.
- Mark has a Pigface toy on his shelf.
- Samantha is animated with the same character model in her appearances in the comic.
- Chuck sits on the wrong side of the school bus.
- Chuck is much larger than he is in the show.
- The window Ace appears behind when Mark is in science is on the side wall, not behind Mark.
- Ace's lightning attacks in the last few pages look like his Ring of Flame upgrade.
- It is night during Mark and Ace's chat.
- When Ace is bombed by Lady Illusion, he is covered in flames.
- Ace is knocked by Lord Fear who appears to strike Ace over the head with Staff Head.
- An alternate version of pages 3 and 4 was drawn by illustrator Chuck Whelon, commissioned as a sample for the full strip, but was presumably rejected in favour of the final version by Mike Bowden. The alternate version is somewhat more faithful to the original character designs.