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Halo: Uprising #1 - Review & Synopsis

Halo Uprising 01 page 29

Just finished reading Halo: Uprising, issue #1, the first issue of the Marvel comic miniseries that bridges the gap between Halo 2 and 3. No spoilers yet (except in the images), so you’re safe reading for now.

The comic is written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Alex Maleev. Bendis is easily one of the best comic writers of our time, having helmed Daredevil, Ultimate Spider-man, New Avengers, and many other best-selling comics, and his unique talent make this issue a joy to read. The issue flashes back and forth between Master Chief and events on Earth, and the human side of the comic is where Bendis truly shines.

Bendis knows how to write real, human characters, and he shows us a side of the Halo universe we haven’t really seen: regular people. When the comic focuses on the main human characters, we see humor that alone makes the purchase worth it, and we understand the fear that comes from being a citizen stuck in the middle of an interstellar war.

Alex Maleev was the artist on the duo’s legendary Daredevil run, and he’s often been criticized for his style, which is often too grim and realistic. A major criticism has always been that his characters don’t look right during fight sequences, that they look more like still photos than active characters. His style has obviously matured, and it shows in this issue.

The epic long shots, the firefights between the Chief and the Covenant, he does a great job making the action exciting and suspensful. Obviously, he’s more at home in the Earth sequences and dialog scenes, but he shows a talent for epic shots and sci-fi technology.

I’d recommend picking up this first issue, as well as Marvel Spotlight: Halo, which has interviews with Bendis, Maleev, Brian Jarrard and Frank O’Connor of Bungie, and gives some good background on the comic, the game, and the Halo mythology.

Also, revealed: Bendis wants to make a comic book based on Geometry Wars!

Bendis: What needs a comic is Geometry Wars. We really need to find out how we got here, how all that happened. You ever play Geometry Wars?

Interviewer: No. I think you’re making that up.

Bendis: Oh, you gotta play it, man! It’s a big Xbox thing. It’s hilarious.

After this image, a full plot synopsis, complete with spoilers, in case you can’t get a copy.

Halo Uprising pages 021-22

The issue follows two parallel stories, one involving Master Chief on the Covenant’s Forerunner Dreadnaught ship, one involving two humans, Ruwan and Myras, on Earth in Cleveland. The stories are interspersed, but I’m seperating them for clarity.

Aboard the ship, IO Station is trying to reach the Chief. In his only line in the comic, he tells them to shut up.

The Chief is flying on the ship, then on the ground, in a firefight with Covenant forces. There is no dialog, just shooting and grenades going off. The aliens look particularly gruesome, and the artwork seems very faithful to the look f the games. Master Chief blows open a door to enter a room where he faces down a very large force.

On a Covenant Cruiser orbiting Mars, Colonel James Ackerson is being tortured by Covenant forces. When they decide to end the torture/interrogation, he lets slip that they’ll “never find the key”, even if they attack Earth. Under duresshe reveals that there is a Key of Osanalan, that without it, the Halo will fail again, and it’s located in Cleveland.

The Chief is fighting back a huge force that just keeps coming and coming. Finally, a line of enemies lines up and shoots him all at once, and he falls. Commander Makala stops the battle and demands Master Chief give him the Key of Osanalan, or he’ll start pulling parts off of him.

On Earth, the Covenant have begun invading the city, hoping to get at the Key. Ruwan sits in the food court at a mall being all “I wasn’t even supposed to be here today” as people run screaming. The fighting spreads into the mall, and he meets Myras, who has pale skin and a funky sense of fashion.

A throwaway line reveals that New Cleveland has become a tourist destination, that people from France come here to vacation.

Myras grabs a gun and grenade off a fallen soldier, kills a bunch of invading Covenant, and they escape through the service exit. They attempt to take Ruwan’s car from the garage, but the roads are just “gone”. They watch the war waging around them, with Ruwan realizing that all his political feelings dissapear in the face of real conflict and death.

They sneak away to Old Cleveland, which smells awful. Ruwan realized Myras is some sort of famous performer, and that he has some of her work. They are stopped by some aliens and captured.

The Covenant is hoarding the captured humans into a giant sports stadium. People are freaking out, unable to deal with the enormity of the situation. A Covenant commander hovers over the station, and reveals why they have been brought there. He says if they want to live, they must give him the Key of Osanalan.

Myras says, “What is that?”

Ruwan says, “I– I know exactly what it is”.

I’m surprised. I thought Ackerson was lying, but Ruwan’s statement would indicate otherwise. Perhaps Ackerson and Ruwan know each other, and the Key is some sort of plan or joke. We’ll have to wait for the next issue to see.

August 31st, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Halo 3, Halo, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

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