Where Dark Horse never lets us down is always the promise of some Halo story each year. At least one or two taking place at various points in time during Halo’s history. This story right here meets many Halo fans halfway who want new stories they haven’t seen before, while seeing more familiar faces outside of the Master Chief. That goes double when they decide that one of those starring characters is going to be a member of Blue Team.
One of the important things for me jumping into this story was understanding exactly where this takes place. That is always very important when looking for understanding what’s unfolding considering some who were enemies then aren’t enemies now, and wars started before may not be the one ongoing currently. It was fitting to also choose a point in time that wasn’t too early (post-Halo 3), and not too current for those who may have yet played the new game.
What I continue to appreciate about the choice to follow other Spartans aside from the Master Chief is the ability to be more engaged in the story they go with. Everyone loves Master Chief, but there’s only so much you can get out of someone who struggles showing emotions or personality. That is where the many other characters in this universe make up for what he lacks to offer. Spartan Linda-058 from Blue Team was the next best thing when many love this team and appreciate any opportunity to see just what they can get up to on their own. This was even a special occasion when we have the chance to follow one of them on a mission by themselves. Sometimes we get quickly accustomed to them working as a team or teaming up with Master Chief. From the flip of the first page we got a solid refresher on the kind of Spartan Linda is. Her specialty makes up a lot of what you like about her off the bat. Most Spartans love to play invincible action hero, but she is calm and calculating as a marksman and good on her feet. The way she handles other Spartans in training makes it look too easy for a solider with her skillset.
This mission to end the threat posed by a wanted scientist on a distant planet was exciting for the start that Linda took to it. This was a new experience for Linda working with an AI, let alone an ONI AI at her side, and it was a new experience for us to see her in action like this visually. As I pointed out above, it was interesting to see this drastic contrast in the way that she handles situations. She assesses what she sees, responds accordingly, and seems to have plenty of confidence in her own decision-making skills too. I only wonder how she will respond to the order she has been given when this mission so far has given the impression that there may be more to what we are seeing. That may be expected from a story like this, but I believe everything should come down to execution if they aim to satisfy us with the direction this story will take.
The fact that they too chose this as a point to tease us with possible character depth given to Linda through her past was a treat. You don’t expect that from Spartan IIs like her.
For a book like Halo: Lone Wolf, your main concern is almost always the quality of the art team that they bring aboard. That normally says a lot about what you are in store for. As far as colors go, I was glad to see Dan Jackson working on a Halo book. Stories like this only benefit from a colorist who knows how to bring some energy to the action and universe. When the colors are dull and the renderings basic, you miss out on a full experience. Fortunately for us that was not the case thanks to Jackson. He had a lot to play with due to the detail put into the pencils/inks from both Kieran McKeown and JL Straw. Speaking of Kieran McKeown and JL Straw, both did a standout job as two artists who are new to me. Accuracy is the name of the game for a licensed book and these two nailed the execution. Whether it was the Spartans in armor, out of armor, or the Covies, they were all just as they looked in the comics. Of course just a little more personality out into some of them like Linda and the humans. With that said, I was very impressed by the effort that went into making the actions sequences fluent. Spartans can sometimes move clunky, and that was not what we got from these two.
Halo: Lone Wolf #1 meets expectations for Halo fans who have been anticipating this release since the announcement. Spartan Linda-058 was the perfect choice as the star for this book when she is equal parts badass, engaging, and unique to most other Spartans in action. This mission should have some interesting twists for her, and I do hope they take advantage of the fragile line that you walk concerning human threats in the Halo universe.