Review: Halo Blood Line #1

Published on January 8th, 2010

One of the comics that didn’t make it onto last week’s Pick of the Week podcast, was Halo: Blood Line #1. It sadly didnt make it onto the podcast because I forget to pick it up when I collected my weekly stack of comics, but let’s put my mental stoops aside for one minute or so, as I tell you about this comic, and why it could well have been a favoured contestor for my pick of the week.

halo_bloodline1Blood Line is written by Fred Van Lente, and with art by Francis Portela. It is set before the battle for the planet Reach (stay tuned for Bungie’s new Halo: Reach video game this year), so in layman’s terms, it’s set before the first Halo game; ‘Combat Evolved’. If you saw the article I did on this a few months ago, when this series was first announced then you may know about this already. The plot is about a group of 5 stranded Spartan-II commandos who have been assigned to a top secret mission, but on the way to persue this mission their carrier has been get’s taken down and crashes on a mysterous planet, along with a covenant cruiser which has had the same thing happen to it as well. We were told in previews a while back that there is a common enemy that lives on this planet, that threatens both the humans and the covenant, and that they will both have to work together to survive. As this is the first issue however, obviously we havn’t reached that bit yet, we’ve just touched on the surface.

This issue gives almost equal exposure to both the Humans and the Covenant, although maybe the backstory on the Spartans about their training, weighed the issue more in the way of the humans getting the most exposure. Regardless, in this issue we see how, both the Human and Covenant ships crashland on this planet.. it’s dramatic stuff.. as the human’s take on heavy casulties and their ship gets destroyed completely, while the covenant take slightly less casualites but it’s still hit their ship hard and left it in tatters. We see the Spartans get together with the A.I onboard the ship, and go out in a Warthog to explore the surroundings, as their air supply is running dangerously low. While the Covenant also do the same in a Wraith. At the end of the issue the two meet, and there is a firefight between the Spartans and the Wraith, but little do the Spartans know that a completely new and different enemy is creeping up behind them!

In my opinion, this first issue proves to me that this could well be the best Halo mini series from Marvel I have read to date. It looks more promising in both writing and art than Uprising, and Helljumpers both seemed at this point. I don’t know if its just because this is the first comic that gives insight on a group of Spartans (the dudes of the Halo Universe) which is something we’ve not seen in both video games and comics for a while, but maybe it was simply just because it was a nicely executed comic.

I know for one thing, that Fred has set up a great first issue here, the characterisation has started already in both the covenant characters and the Spartans, including the A.I the Spartans are now working with. Interaction between characters has that same tone that you would get if you were watching an in-game cinematic on one of the games, which in other words means that the interaction between characters was a joy to read, and you can’t help but sometimes read it outloud in the style of the voices heard in the games. I hope both the charactersation and interaction develops and I have strong faith it will, but for what we got so far in this first issue, I was impressed and truly wasn’t expecting it to be so deep, so early in. I also had no idea that Fred was a Halo fan, but I assume he must be as his references and such in this issue were spot on (for example the references to The Great Journey), and it had a genuine feel to it.

With regards to the artwork now, I think Portela was a wonderful choice for this series. The attention to detail was wonderful in some panels, and the landscape shots were well constructed. There was a real flow to the art that worked well for the fast paced story, as well as the action packed fight scenes too, so it all worked pretty darn well. The colours really gave the issue a great vibe as well, you have to see it to believe it.

All in all, a bloody good first issue, I was surprised to get a real shot of awesomeness of this level from this comic, as the previous Halo series I’ve read didn’t seem all that good, but let’s hope this one stays strong! I believe it will. Final words?.. This could be the Halo series we’ve been waiting for.

Rob Andrews