Group Review: Halo – Initiation #1

It’s been a while since Halo had a comic book and some could argue that it’s been a while since those comics were good. We’re taking a crack at this fresh start with Dark Horse and their new mini that ties heavily into the fourth Halo video game. As with every group review the writers/reviews of Comic Bastards will give the issue a score of: Buy, Borrow or Pass along with a short reason for the score. First here’s a blurb about the issue from 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! The origin of Sarah Palmer—and the Spartan IV program!

Dustin: BUY

I was actually surprised by this comic. I gave each and every one of Marvel’s Halo series a try and was disappointed each time. They never tied into the current chapter of the video game and sometimes they didn’t even show the Marines. This series ties directly into the fourth video game which is cool as shit because it leaves you with a ton of cliffhangers in the story. I enjoyed the pacing and the in your face action. The best part is that it didn’t dance around trying to introduce the world, but rather hit the ground running and that’s exactly what a Halo comic should do. Let’s be honest, if you don’t know what Halo is then are you really going to buy the damn comic book? No.

The art was a huge part in the success of the story. I absolutely loved the grenade flipping over the warthog and other artistic moments that made the comic feel exactly like playing the game. If you’re a Halo fan then this is literally the best comic adaptation for the series thus far. Get it.


The video game from the Xbox gets sequential art treatment in this series that follows Corporal Palmer and her work as a shock trooper.

While not spectacular, the book did present an interesting tale that felt too close to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and the movie based on it.  Yes, the movie and book versions of Troopers are distinct, but the whole powered armor motif and fighting soldier in the future motif get the reworking here.

I never played Halo, but I found this comic to be interesting.

Halo - Initiation #1 Cover

Steve: BUY

I want to qualify this opinion with the following startling announcement: I haven’t played Halo since 2003, when a friend named Jasmine humbled me completely on the battlefield. That chick was hella-good at Halo, and I think that’s why I like this book. It reminds me of Jasmine.

Most of that, of course, is thanks to Lance Corporal Sarah Palmer, yet another badass lady, one who takes over the lead role from Master Chief. Palmer leads us through a tight, but explosive little adventure, which in turn puts her at the head of a list for a very special kind of promotion, the risks and histories of which are foreshadowed particularly well during the book’s solid intro.

The dialogue here, especially from Palmer, is spectacularly well-written, with some of the most hilariously hard-assed lines I’ve read recently, and it’s fantastic to see that it’s told via such a strong female voice. Again, I haven’t followed Halo since the first game, so I have no idea if this is a new story or the continuation of the games, but as a new reader, I didn’t find it strenuous in the least to follow along. The art echoed the fun yet grizzled feel of the story perfectly, and as a whole, I think it worked really well. I am definitely on-board to see what happens next with Palmer, and not just because I think Jasmine would be proud.

Samantha: PASS

I don’t know how much help my review for this comic will be. I think it will help people who aren’t interested in Halo and probably won’t be reading this anyway. So here we go.

I thought this comic would have tons of explosions, so I was going to read it mostly for the graphics. The graphics let me down. I mean everyone will compare this comic with a video game, so you have got to bring new styles and tons of action to bring in a digital audience. The art was nothing new. I should feel like I am in the comic or somehow connected. I think it may lose that type of person who needs to feel a part of it in order to read Halo not play it. It did bring a good amount of talk and action though. Sometimes we get so caught up with both that we start to miss the other. Here it was balanced.

As for the story, we see Corporal Palmer save the Admiral’s life.  Now a new group of warriors wants her to join their team and become a Spartan. The issue was more of a 0 issue. It wasn’t strong enough to be a first issue, so I am going to pass. I think most people could pick up 2 and still understand what is going on especially being a Halo fan. It doesn’t really need to be read, so if are picking this up just to see what is up please pass on by.

Jordan: BUY

Halo initiation is a neat little window into the Halo universe following Sarah Palmer, an ODST trooper issue #1 tells the simple story of how one badass Hell-jumper comes to be inducted into a new- and apparently super-secret- Spartan program. This is a cool issue for several reasons. First off, if Spartans were always the greek gods of the Halo universe the ODST troopers have been its (mostly) unsung superheroes. More man than machine like the Spartans the ODST troopers have all of the Spartan`s badass feats and attitude and none of their invulnerabilities, making them, to me, the truly bad dudes in the UNSC; this issue focuses on the baddest one of all. Second around 2/3rds of the issue are dedicated to combat which feels frightening and daunting just as it should when the enemy you’re facing amounts to a walking tank. This issue is fun, fresh and fancy-free and worth a pickup to any fan of the good Chief and the world he inhabits.

Connor: BORROW

I've never really been one into the Halo universe. Sure I played the games but only when I was visiting a friend so I barely even know the stories. All I can say on this is as a new reader, having my first experience in the Haloverse, this comic did enough to interest me. The writing is alright and the art sometimes stands out whereas in other places falls down. But there's just enough there that could keep me coming back for more.

I'd recommend to most people to just borrow this if you're just a casual fan of the franchise. If you're serious however, than buy it. Its more towards your market.

Score: 3 Buys, 2 Borrow and a Pass

Writer: Brian Reed

Artist: Marco Castiello

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 8/14/13