Master Chief and his team of Spartans find themselves still in the thick of battle when we pick up in the final of this short, three issue run of Halo: Collateral Damage from Dark Horse Comics. Things have gone from bad to worse for John and this issue finally brings to a head some of the consequences from decisions that have been made during issues #1 and #2. It’s difficult to ascertain just how I feel about how this series ended as I was extremely happy with certain aspects of the ending, while also feeling somewhat underwhelmed by others.
Chief and team manage to find the lost member of their team and nearly half the comic is dedicated to their search for and rescue of her. That’s not a bad thing, however, as the action that plays out showcasing the battle between the Spartans and the Covenant is framed spectacularly well and is one of the most exciting aspects of not just this issue, but of all three. The aftermath of the battle also takes its toll on one of the Spartans and it’s refreshing and even a little touching to see the concern that Chief and his fellow Spartans have for one another and their refusal to let any of their squad fall by the wayside. I played Halo on the original Xbox and while it was loads of fun, it wasn’t exactly touching, so I appreciate the attention to characterization in that manner.
Things on the surface are no better for the team of rebels who are fighting off the alien menace. They are ill-equipped and unprepared to push back the onslaught and their eventual resolution is also emotionally resonant and I genuinely felt terrible for some of them. Their plight is also used to great effect to showcase Master Chief’s noble outlook concerning his duty as well as highlight the almost cold-blooded attitude his superiors have when it comes to human life and sacrifice. I was expecting lots of great action, which I got, but I wasn’t expecting to be moved emotionally at all, so Halo: Collateral Damage #3 was a nice surprise.
As much as I loved the weight of the ending, I was also a bit let down by it. This series is advertised as a three issue run and if that’s so, then I don’t feel like we got much in the way at all of resolution. The Spartans didn’t seem to accomplish a whole lot during their time on the island and the final bit of dialogue even pointed to the idea that there was more to see. If Dark Horse is planning on picking up the story in a different run, that’s great, but as it stands, Halo: Collateral Damage just sort of leaves everything hanging in the air. This series has also been advertised as a “Master Chief Story.” While he has certainly been an active participant in the events, he has hardly taken center stage. It’s been a team story more than anything and while I’m fine with that, I kept waiting for Chief to take the story over and he never really did.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Dave Crosland’s artwork for this series at first. He’s a talented artist, but I didn’t feel that his particular style was a great fit for the Halo universe. After three issues though, it has definitely grown on me. It’s still not the style I would choose, but he translates frantic action to the page extremely well and he has a good eye for detail that I didn’t appreciate as much when I read issue #1.
I hope that this Halo tale is picked up in another run down the line as I don’t feel that we got a full story here. The ending was emotional and exciting, but it also felt as if it was laying ground for a new story and hopefully, some resolution. As it is though, Halo: Collateral Damage did an admirable job of bringing the expansive Covenant War to a smaller location and using the claustrophobic elements to great effect. Issue #3 was an appropriate swan song for this run in terms of both action and emotional resonance. I’d like to see more, but if I don’t, I’ll still be happy that I’ve read these issues.
- Emotional Ending
- Some Exciting Action Set-Pieces
- No Real Resolution
- Never Became a "Master Chief' Story