If you’re like me Halo was one of the first games that brought you together with a group a friends to have a LAN party. For those who don’t know, or are too young, a LAN party was when a group of friends would get together with multiple systems to play multiplayer while being wired into a central server, router, or another device that allowed consoles to speak to each other. Those were great days, and it’s how most fans of the HALO series began their love affair with the franchise. Today, the franchise has expanded outside of our gaming consoles and into novels and graphic novels.

HALO: Fall of Reach, is a series of adaptations of the Novel HALO: The Fall of Reach. It’s a great place for newer readers to jump into by providing a good introduction into the main story elements of the HALO universe. The graphic novel contains three story arcs. The first of the three story arcs is “Boot Camp.” It tells the story of John-117’s young life and his Spartan training. The second arc is “Covenant” which tells the beginnings of the Human-Covenant war. And lastly, “Invasion” which tells the story of the initial invasion of Reach, Operation Enduring Winter, and finally the fall of Reach itself.

In “Boot Camp”, we see the story of the childhood of SPARTAN-ll commander John-177. We learn of his entry into the supersoldier program in the beginning of the 26th century. I use the word entry loosely. Reason being, John had no real choice in becoming part of the program. We get a glimpse of the early trauma and training endured by John-177, and, we get to see how he became the SPARTAN we know today in the HALO universe. Writer Brian Reed really gives us a graphic look into the program and has us questioning the moral reasons for the program’s existence. He also touches on another major theme with the value of free will versus the need for security. Felix Ruiz also worked very well to bring to life a complex and powerful set of stories collected in this graphic novel.

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The middle arc, “Covenant” follows right after “Boot Camp”. This arc touches on one of the biggest questions we ourselves ask when we look to the sky, “Are we alone?” In the Halo universe they got that answer, and sometimes being alone isn’t a bad thing, because not all aliens come in peace. The United Nations Space Command learns this lesson the tough way. Master Chief and his Spartans have to find out what the Covenant are searching for before it’s too late. The pace of this section is torrid as the Spartans race against time to answer critical questions, that in the end, can mean the difference between life and death for the entire human race.

The final story arc is ”Invasion”. Here we first learn of a mission that if successful could put an end to the bloody war between the Covenant and Earth. This arc also follows the battle, and eventual fall of Reach itself. Reed did an excellent job translating what was a full novel into a graphic novel here, and Feliz in turn took his talents to help build a world for the reader to witness first hand. The story of Master Chief first meeting Cortana sets us up for the importance of both characters to the HALO universe. Finally with “Invasion”, the reader begins to discover that there is more to what is going on than even some of the leaders might know, with hints peppered by Brian Reed all throughout the entire novel. This final arc is a fantastic ending to this book, and becomes a great launching pad for the first HALO game.

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The Verdict

HALO: Fall of Reach is an excellent source of background information for the HALO universe. It also provides an excellent origin for it’s most important hero. The art y Feliz Ruiz is excellent. He really brings the story alive and allows you to immerse yourself. I believe that Brian Reed did a great job at that for the reader. I strongly recommend this one whether you are looking for an introduction or just want to fill in some holes.

Comic Book Review: HALO: Fall of Reach
Pros
  • Wonderful art
  • Solid storytelling
Cons
  • Very large, so take your time
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