Halo Graphic Novel - ed. Robert McLees & Frank O'Connor

"Still too scary ... make it seem more--adventurous."

Okay, I'll admit it: I'm a fan of the videogame Halo. It's the main reason I bought an Xbox. I love running through alien spaceships and sci-fi terrain shooting things, and I'm amazed at the world that the folks at Bungie created. I like the storyline of the game, which is why the multiplayer shoot-'em-ups were never my favorite aspect of the game.

I haven't read any of the fictionalizations, more because I forget about them than because I have anything in particular against them. (Though I don't expect much from a video-game-inspired novel.) But I'd heard good things about this graphic novel. I'd read reviews about how they had some big comic-book talent involved, and how earlier incarnations were scrapped because Bungie really wanted to make something cool. (The Foreword emphasizes this point.) Plus, one of the best things about this particular story is seeing it, and a graphic novel seemed like the perfect way to do it.

... and yet, somehow, it isn't.

There are four stories included in the book, along with a gallery section of artwork by all the other artists they wanted to include but didn't have room for. "The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor," by Lee Hammock and Simon Bisley, is about the Covenant as they first encounter the Flood. It's a visual mess, particularly in the action scenes, and you can hardly tell what's going on. "Armor Testing," by Jay Faerber, Ed Lee, and Andrew Robinson, is short and simple and probably the best; it's a little armor-testing scenario, paintball-style. "Breaking Quarantine" depicts Sergeant Johnson's escape from the Flood, something that's alluded to in the game. It's done entirely wordlessly (by Tsutomu Nikei) and, well, doesn't really explain anything. "Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa" by Brett Lewis and Moebius has potential: Moebius is the biggest comic-book name here, a French comics artist with a distinctive style. The plot is good, too, about the aliens first showing up on Earth, after the government has been covering up all news about defeats and setbacks. But the text is full of dashes and ellipses that make everything stutter, and the timing of everything is hard to follow.

There was, to my surprise, a little Etch-a-Sketch Halo art on the last page, done by somebody at Bungie.

Overall, a disappointment. The world of Halo is cool, but it fails to translate to books, apparently.

Fed to jonathan's brain | March 02, 2007 | Comments (0)


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