In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a fan of the Halo series. So I am not familiar with the intricacies of the Halo universe, or the supporting character of Sarah Palmer, who the new Dark Horse mini-series Halo: Initiation is about. But that out of the way, I was pleasantly surprised by the first issue, which was released this week. It chronicles the origin of Sarah Palmer as a Spartan, and while issue one is obviously going to be mostly set-up, I’m more than intrigued by what writer Brian Reed has set up. He’s also one of the writers of Halo 4, so the guy knows his stuff. Not being a fan of the series, I had no idea how the Spartans like Master Chief were created, and this comic made me realize that the Halo universe is actually more interesting than I’d given it credit for being. Of course, it helps that the story can move along at a pace and not get bogged down in long, shooting gameplay sections.
The art, by Marc Castiello, is very good, and everything looks authentic, from the battle armor to the Warthogs to the weapons. His page layouts are dynamic and graphic, but sometimes the style interferes with storytelling as some of the action can be a bit hard to follow, visually. Sarah Palmer is an interesting character, a female who manages to be strong without being bitchy, which is often the go-to characterization for powerful women. I recommend Halo: Initiation for Halo fans, but also for non-Halo comic book fans like me. Turning Mass Effect into a comic book was an obvious choice, as that game had a strong storyline and a rich universe to draw from. I never considered Halo to be more than a shooter, so it’s nice to find out that there is actually an interesting story they can create new tales with. I look forward to issue two!