With a strong opening issue I came into this issue ready for a great bout of action. The stakes are set high and there are dozens of moving parts within this series despite still being in its infancy. Halo: Escalation is most definitely action packed, if nothing else. But, is it good?
Halo: Escalation #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Like Halo: Escalation #1, the story was a little difficult to follow; with so many threads and characters it’s easy to lose track of the situation or mistake characters for each other. Despite this, I understand that Sarah Palmer, spartan commander, is trying to escort two ambassadors through a war-torn land. They are ambushed and forced to retaliate, trying desperately to keep the ambassadors out of harm’s way without giving them arms and a means to fight.
Meanwhile, trouble goes down on the Infinity as communications are cut and there is no hope for reinforcements. Sarah Palmer gets to be a serious badass, throwing helmets full of grenades and slashing down enemies. She is very much the star of the story, even with minimal characterization.
The plot is very strong, if not a little overwhelming at times. If you’re in the market for video game like action and strong suspense, this book will do right by you. If you want a more intricate, emotional story about characters and emotions, this definitely isn’t your book. The comic is very quickly paced with minimal personal panels; mostly frames that cram in a lot of motion.
The only thing that keeps me from totally singing this book’s praises is the fact that it is just so wordy. Not a page goes by that isn’t chock full of speech, a good portion of which is wholly unnecessary. Now, I do understand that it takes a lot of talking to set the scene for a conflict that involves so much technology and military strategy, but it just seems like sometimes we are reading words that are simply there to impress us. Do we really need to know about all of the electromagnetic noise that the plasma is giving off? Or is that just there to show us how much this author has figured about the Halo universe?
This isn’t to say that the writing is in any way bad. Chris Schlerf definitely labored over making sure that everything in this book works from the ridiculous technological troubles to the dangerous fights. He does a very nice job hurrying the plot up by creating intense dialogue. I really enjoyed reading this book; I just wish there was a little more show and a little less tell.
- Great storytelling and pacing make for an exciting issue
- Sarah Palmer is a convincing protagonist
- Wordy, wordy, wordy
- Pencils aren’t that strong regarding faces
Is It Good?
Yeah, I’d say so. With an incredibly intricate plot and breakneck pacing, this issue carries the story right along and was a blast to read. Art by Sergio Arino is great with carrying the various movements of the characters, despite being a little rough on the face work. Overall, a fun and thrilling issue with elements that I will look forward to seeing later in this series.