Review: Halo: Initiation #1
Halo®—one of the largest video game franchises—comes to Dark Horse! Before she was a super-soldier defending humanity as part of the Spartan-IV program, Sarah Palmer was an ODST—Orbital Drop Shock Trooper—carrying out the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines!
Halo has come to Dark Horse this week as Halo: Initiation #1 is released. The three issue story looking at the Spartan-IV campaign is written by Brian Reed (one of the writers for Halo 4) with art from Marco Castiello. Michael Atiyeh tackles colors and Michael Heisler handles lettering. So is Halo and Dark Horse a good fit?
The story opens in Highcom Facility Bravo-6 in the year 2553. Former Spartan Fhajad Musa, who was crippled by Dr. Catherine Halsey’s experiments, has called a meeting with the top brass to talk about the Spartans. He gives a little speech on the historical Spartans as well as Dr. Halsey’s original group of genetically altered children. He lays out the facts. Things are looking bad. Master Chief is lost, the other Spartans are “missing in action,” the Covenant could still be a problem, and there is potential unrest with the colonies. There’s something the UNSC needs and Musa can provide it- more Spartans. From there we flash back three months and get introduced to HELLJUMPER Sarah Palmer. She loves what she does and she’s good at it. She is dropped into a mission to evac Admiral Kovalic. He has an A.I. that can’t fall in to enemy hands or be left behind. After Palmer drops, she finds out she is the closest to the Admiral. With a bunch of Brutes and grunts bearing down on them, can see get the Admiral out? Is she Spartan material?
Reed writes a strong introductory story. You don’t have to be well versed in the Halo novels to get what’s going on, but it will add to your experience. You’ll notice characters and other little nods you might not completely understand if you’ve stuck with just the video games. Palmer is a character from the Halo 4 Spartan Ops, so as long as you’ve followed that story you should be golden. You get an intriguing framing device for the story with the inclusion of Mursa, and you get your trademark Halo action with Palmer on one of her last missions as an ODST. Reed expands on the stories we’ve seen teased in other Halo media. Castiello’s art is great. He translates all the characters, aliens, tech and weapons of the Halo universe well and gives them his own comic book/slightly cartoon-y spin. He does the big space ships and flipped Warthogs well, but he also does some brilliant work with the characters in the smaller scenes. Atiyeh’s colors are bright and lively. He makes the action pop off the page.
Bottom Line: Halo: Initiation #1 is a great introduction to a story a lot of fans have been waiting to see. The story about the Spartan-IV program leading up to Halo 4 is a fantastic story for Dark Horse to tell in their first Halo comic book installment. If you’re a hardcore fan or just an average gamer, you’ll love Initiation. 3.5/5