Wherever there is a new Halo comic, I'll be right there with open arms, ready and willing to let the first chapter throw me right back into Halo's magnificent and wonderful universe. This time around, HALO: INITIATION takes place between the events of Halo 3 and 4, ultimately serving as a story to help immerse you even further in the mobile game, Halo: Spartan Assault (which I haven't played nor do I plan on doing so, but I digress). So, what's it about? The long and short of it is, Sarah Palmer is an awesome Orbital Drop Shock Trooper and she's been selected to become a new Spartan. Simple enough, yes?
This issue does the bare basics of recapping Halo's history with the Spartan program and understandably so (there's no intro page, after all). Luckily, it doesn't feel like they're retelling it just for the sake of playing catch up with new readers or casual fans of the universe. The brief history is recapped in an organic manner (not to mention has the coolest splash page in the book) and it's not long before we're abruptly thrown into an action piece which pretty much bears the weight of the rest of the issue. It's not the most riveting action sequence around (which is a shame because it focuses on a Chieftain), but I'd be a liar if I said part of me didn't love seeing a small scale battle with all of these familiar faces. There's just something special about Halo's universe to me and that's what makes this set piece a particularly enjoyable read -- even if it doesn't do anything to standout .
My biggest gripe with the battle (which is most of the issue) is that a lot of it lacks the motion it requires to make it truly exciting. The melee dodging was without question the best looking sequence, but everything else kind of felt stale, never really delivering on big moments which should have really packed a punch. Unfortunately, the same held true for the warthog kills. Something like that should be cheer-inducing but it sadly wasn't because it was missing a real sense of impact.
Minor gripe: Palmer seemed way too safe during the grande toss despite being surrounded. Sure, her luck isn't infinite, but at times I was left wondering what all of the enemy forces were doing.
If you've been itching to dive back into the Halo universe (and that should pretty much be anyone and everyone who enjoys the games), then you'll be pleased to know HALO: INITIATION #1 is a serviceable return to the sci-fi franchise. It does the basics building up the narrative and showing us who Palmer is, all the while throwing some alright action our way. Now that everyone knows who she is and why the UNSC is interested in here, it's time to get things rolling!