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Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*
By:Grizzlei
Date: 8/14/13 7:17 pm

WARNING: The spoiler tag was just a formality. Truth be told, Initiation's story and the content I will divulge in this review is nothing to concern yourself over unless you need to absolutely stay unspoiled.

Halo: Initiation (#1)
Writer: Brian Reed
Art: Marco Castiello

Initiation kicks into high gear straight away. This three-issue series pairs 343 Industries writer Brian Reed and artist Marco Castiello together to chronicle the early days of the UNSC's fourth-generation supersoldier program and the men and women who shaped the fledgling Spartan Branch in its infancy. Leading Initiation is the young Marine, Sarah Palmer, then only an ordinary grunt on the frontlines in the war against the Covenant. In this first issue alone, Initiation brings home two missing heroes once believed to roam endlessly in past stories.

Story
The pacing is intense and concise, and with only 24 pages bound together, Reed makes due with this hindrance. Sadly, this to-the-point pacing betrays what could've been possible. Initiation is separated into three acts spanning four months and Earth's celestial empire, and much to my surprise, seamlessly melds together into an opera just as well as any game. However, It's this broad inclusivity that allows the series to suffer from an exciting, yet mediocre kick off.

Each act contains colorful dialogue that will continue to linger in the minds of Halo fans and casual readers alike. Captain Musa, the first act's main voice and founder of Spartan Branch, presents himself before the Admiralty with a heartfelt speech on the tragedies of Dr. Halsey's acts all those years ago, he himself being crippled by them. These words hit characters and myself to the core, just as he intended. Sadly, the dialogue following in subsequent acts sinks to a conversational tone with little substance. One might read it with the impression that each of the characters is trying to get the final word in, or the best zinger.

Set five years before her deployment as Infinity Spartan Forces' commanding officer, Lance Corporal Sarah Palmer stars as a Helljumper of the elite 105th Division in this inaugural issue. This boisterous young woman brings back her typical charms, confident as ever, never to let her limitations overwhelm the cocky facade she holds dear. It's very easy to find yourself reciting her words with Jennifer Hale in mind, Palmer's voice actor on Halo 4, and lends itself well to Reed's ability to differentiate characters. Palmer's abilities as a warrior are defined with great intensity in the second act, charging without abandon at her adversaries. For an unaugmented human, alone without her comrades, it is a bit over-the-top, but it's still a fun sight.

Jun-A266 makes his first appearance since being marooned on Covenant-occupied Reach at the end of the 2010 prequel game. This veteran Spartan's chat with Sarah Palmer is quite succinct and faithful to both their personalities, yet I couldn't hear Jun's unique accent emanating from the pages. It's early to tell, but I feel his inclusion in Initiation was one of fan service. Jun's appearance felt like a tip of the hat to people holding onto him. It doesn't seem like we'll be seeing any more of him beyond this reintroduction into this new era in the Haloverse. That being said, Jun and Sarah appear to have good chemistry and denying readers of this relationship going forth would be very displeasing.

Secondary characters give little back to this first issue. The Admiralty in the first act provides a counter to Musa's proposals and entrenched Marines are killed off to highlight danger. The lone Covenant character with a speaking part, a Jiralhanae Chieftain, is nothing but grunts and roars. Enticing Sarah Palmer with something more would've let her character in battle shine above explaining her actions to Admiral Kovalic.

Art and spazz
Full page spreads, single-panel close ups, and ordinary action shots are all equally presented with beauty. Curves on armor plating are defined with as much intensity as a focused stare in the heat of combat.

Action between Marines and Covenant soldiers is frightening. Some panels display highly-detailed advances and blows, others highly-stylized shots. These scenes bring back the fondest memories of fighting the Covenant in first-person, even if Palmer's exploits as a Lance Corporal are slightly over-exaggerated to spark intensity. Most of it flows well from panel-to-panel, while occasional bouts of confusion will set in.

A unique contrast can be seen in the facial expressions in all three acts. The first, starring Captain Musa and the Admiralty, is very reserved. The artist's unique style inhibits readers from seeing their distinctions, whether they be of confidence, contempt, sorrow, or hatred. Jun and Sarah are shown in stark contrast, however. This third and final act is almost entirely close up shots and you're genuinely able to feel what they're thinking.

Oh my lord look at Sarah and her murderous curves! Why would she ever give up being a normal human with mile-wide hips to become a giraffe? I held back my spazzing when this bald man walked into her hospital room and his fistful of arrows was out for the world to see. Jun's bright blue orbs he claims are his eyes are incredibly striking and that bone structure is flawless. Damn. On the other hand, Jun wearing the same cut of suit and tie human males wore 540 years in the past threw me a little. Per The Commissioning, formal wear for men has evolved beyond it. I'm not saying it doesn't look good on him. It looks rather sexy, I must say. But this is the far future and the fashion needs to reflect this. Anyhoo, I digress...

Many "older" elements of the Haloverse make their return. Very little of Halo 4's artistic liberties are given light in Initiation, the only notable things being Jul 'Mdama's retrospective panel and the Navy working uniform. Marines in the infantry and those who enjoy dropping from orbit have been reverted to their Halo 3 armor and I must say that they look quite dapper. This comic shows the evolution from the war-time elements to their current post-war incarnations. The new highly stylized UNSC logo has already replaced the iconic, minimal eagle we knew for so long by January 2553.

For your consideration...
Halo has always prided itself on giving you a remarkable sense of importance. Every enemy soldier you kill or high ground you seize livens events on a galactic scale. Initiation has none of that. Palmer shows reckless skill in defeating a hammer-wielding Chieftain, yet unlike the Master Chief, her victory proves she's nothing but a brain behind the trigger. Her inclusion into the Spartans doesn't conclude in a ticker tape parade, but with a whimper and doubt. Initiation captured these Spartans in an ordinary light, not a shining beacon of hope, and I couldn't be happier.

I've held Sarah Palmer with serious contempt these past few months, her attitude was disgusting, her actions deplorable. I now posses a brief sense of where she was coming from with Initiation. While a great many things about her still irk me in the wrong way, I look forward to seeing how she evolves as a person, one that I'm now void of discouraging to learn about.

Castiello's art was gorgeous, but at times it seems like there was little collaboration between Reed and himself. Character dialogue and their presentation rarely meshed well until the final act.

The story left me wanting so much more with its fast pace, leaving much to question than was answered. Initiation is already filled with more content than can reasonably fit within three 25-page issues and promises have gone unfulfilled because of this limitation. Ideally, I wouldn't have gone with the comic medium to tell this story, or at least not with this limited series. These characters aren't going anywhere, so taking the time to flesh out their history would be oh so sweet for everyone.

Initiation #1 was fun and insightful from the start. It wasn't a lasting dive into these people's lives, but instead a sweet glimpse. While much of this comic has been revealed to the public in the previews, I still recommend reading it for the full picture from beginning to end.

I'll give it a...
3.5 outta 5


Messages In This Thread

Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 7:17 pm
     Glad to heardavidfuchs8/14/13 7:23 pm
           Re: Glad to hearGrizzlei8/14/13 7:27 pm
                 Re: Glad to heardavidfuchs8/14/13 7:28 pm
                       That's high praise *GIF*Grizzlei8/14/13 7:34 pm
     Forgot to mention where to buy...Grizzlei8/14/13 8:14 pm
     Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Phoenix_92868/14/13 8:22 pm
           Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 8:35 pm
                 Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Phoenix_92868/14/13 8:45 pm
                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*davidfuchs8/14/13 9:12 pm
                             Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Phoenix_92868/14/13 9:34 pm
                                   Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*davidfuchs8/14/13 10:00 pm
                                         Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Phoenix_92868/14/13 10:48 pm
                                               Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 10:57 pm
                                                     Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*TDSpiral8/14/13 11:03 pm
                                                     Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Leviathan8/14/13 11:05 pm
                                                           Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*TDSpiral8/14/13 11:11 pm
                                                                 Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Leviathan8/14/13 11:27 pm
                                                                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Stephen L. (SoundEffect)8/15/13 7:28 am
                                                                             The later seems likely now. *NM*Leviathan8/15/13 8:10 pm
                                                                             Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Hyokin8/18/13 2:38 am
                                                                                   Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*ZackDark8/18/13 12:10 pm
                                                                                   Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*davidfuchs8/18/13 12:18 pm
                                                                       Schrödinger's Spartan *NM*scarab8/15/13 12:17 pm
                                                           Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 11:21 pm
                                                                 Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Quirel8/14/13 11:27 pm
                                                                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 11:42 pm
                                                                 Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Leviathan8/14/13 11:40 pm
                                                                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 11:49 pm
                                                                             Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Leviathan8/15/13 12:10 am
                                                                                   Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/15/13 12:15 am
                                                                                         He's BEHIND you! *NM*scarab8/15/13 12:21 pm
                                                                       You are not alone.Quirel8/15/13 12:21 am
                                                                             RC Masterscarab8/15/13 12:23 pm
                                                                                   Hey...RC Master8/16/13 9:10 am
                                                                                         Tru datscarab8/16/13 2:07 pm
                                                                                               Re: Tru datLeviathan8/16/13 3:52 pm
                                                                                                     Re: Tru datscarab8/16/13 4:20 pm
                                                                                                           Re: Tru datRC Master8/17/13 2:16 am
                                                                                                                 343i, make it happen: pleasescarab8/17/13 7:23 am
                                                                                               Re: Tru datRC Master8/17/13 2:20 am
                                                                                                     Halo & Kinectscarab8/17/13 7:49 am
                                                                                                           Re: Halo & KinectCody Miller8/18/13 2:00 am
                                                                                                                 Re: Halo & Kinectscarab8/18/13 5:58 am
                                                                                                                       Re: Halo & KinectLouis Wu8/18/13 10:59 am
                                                                                                                             Re: Halo & Kinectscarab8/18/13 2:26 pm
                                                                                                                                   Re: Halo & Kinectscarab8/18/13 2:29 pm
                                                                                                                                         Re: Halo & Kinectscarab8/18/13 2:39 pm
                                                                                                                                               Re: Halo & Kinectthebruce08/19/13 11:26 am
                                                                                                                                                     Re: Halo & Kinectscarab8/19/13 3:58 pm
                                                                                                                                                     Project Spark?MacGyver108/19/13 4:27 pm
                                                                                                                                                     Natural Selection 2? *NM*ZackDark8/19/13 8:44 pm
                                                                                                                                   Re: Halo & KinectLouis Wu8/18/13 3:12 pm
                                                                                                                                         Re: Halo & KinectCody Miller8/18/13 4:29 pm
                                                                                                                                               Re: Halo & KinectGravemind8/18/13 4:41 pm
                                                                                                                                                     Tried it. Sniper dude got in the Pelican instead.Gravemind8/19/13 12:35 am
                                                                                                                                                           Now if only that game had voice commands ;-) *NM*scarab8/19/13 2:35 am
                                                                                                                                               Re: Halo & KinectLouis Wu8/18/13 11:02 pm
                                                                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Stephen L. (SoundEffect)8/15/13 8:07 am
                                                                             Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Leviathan8/15/13 8:11 pm
                                                                             Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Flynn J Taggart8/16/13 1:14 am
                                                                                   Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Stephen L. (SoundEffect)8/16/13 11:43 am
                                                                                         Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Flynn J Taggart8/16/13 3:46 pm
                                                                                               Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Stephen L. (SoundEffect)8/16/13 5:23 pm
                                                                                                     Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*The Lionheart8/19/13 7:19 pm
                                                                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Kermit8/16/13 12:41 pm
                 Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Document8/27/13 4:57 am
                       Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/27/13 5:50 am
                             Small thingNikko B2018/27/13 6:29 am
                             Re^3: Great Schism at ReachDocument8/27/13 10:56 am
     Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*serpx8/14/13 8:36 pm
           Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*serpx8/14/13 10:46 pm
                 Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Grizzlei8/14/13 10:52 pm
     I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/14/13 11:25 pm
           Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Grizzlei8/14/13 11:37 pm
                 Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...TDSpiral8/14/13 11:52 pm
                       Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Grizzlei8/14/13 11:56 pm
                             Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/15/13 12:17 am
                                   Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Grizzlei8/15/13 12:23 am
                                         Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/15/13 12:53 am
                                               Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Grizzlei8/15/13 12:58 am
                                                     Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/15/13 1:12 am
                                                           Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Grizzlei8/15/13 1:31 am
                 Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/14/13 11:58 pm
                       Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Grizzlei8/15/13 12:09 am
                             Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/15/13 12:56 am
                                   Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...breitzen8/15/13 2:29 pm
                                         I like HBO. You guys are nice.Leviathan8/15/13 7:58 pm
                                               Re: I like HBO. You guys are nice.breitzen8/16/13 11:22 am
                                   Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Kermit8/16/13 1:03 pm
                                   Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Cody Miller8/18/13 2:25 am
                       Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Archilen8/15/13 4:08 am
                             Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/15/13 8:13 pm
           Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Cody Miller8/18/13 2:12 am
                 Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/19/13 2:15 pm
           Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Cody Miller8/18/13 2:21 am
                 Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/19/13 2:14 pm
                       Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Cody Miller8/19/13 3:50 pm
                             ComicsLeviathan8/19/13 5:12 pm
                                   Re: ComicsCody Miller8/19/13 6:22 pm
                                         Re: ComicsZackDark8/19/13 8:53 pm
                                         "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Leviathan8/19/13 10:23 pm
                                               Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Cody Miller8/20/13 5:08 pm
                                                     Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Leviathan8/20/13 5:53 pm
                                                           Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Louis Wu8/20/13 6:47 pm
                                                           Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Cody Miller8/20/13 11:26 pm
                                                                 Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Kermit8/21/13 2:43 pm
                                                                       Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Cody Miller8/21/13 8:45 pm
                                                                             Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Kermit8/22/13 12:52 am
                                                                                   Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Cody Miller8/22/13 1:48 am
                                                                                         Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Kermit8/22/13 2:10 am
                                                                 Re: "Singing Images Held In Time" *Large IMGs*Leviathan8/21/13 3:50 pm
                                                                       I'm really, really sorry for this...ZackDark8/21/13 7:55 pm
                                                                             Nope.Louis Wu8/21/13 8:03 pm
                                                                                   Re: Nope.ZackDark8/21/13 8:19 pm
                                                                                         On English f-upsZackDark8/22/13 10:52 am
                                                                                               Re: On English f-upsKermit8/22/13 11:35 am
                                                                             Re: I'm really, really sorry for this...Kermit8/21/13 8:06 pm
                                                                                   Re: I'm really, really sorry for this...thebruce08/22/13 9:43 am
                             Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Quirel8/19/13 11:00 pm
                             Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...uberfoop8/21/13 1:51 am
                             Ah, good old Cody "Zero sum" Miller *NM*General Vagueness8/24/13 10:06 pm
                       Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Postmortem8/19/13 10:17 pm
                             Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/19/13 10:33 pm
                                   Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Postmortem8/20/13 12:01 am
                                         Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/20/13 12:33 am
                                               ComicsRagashingo8/20/13 8:37 am
                                                     Re: ComicsLeviathan8/20/13 5:07 pm
                                                           Re: Comicsthebruce08/21/13 9:58 am
                                               Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Postmortem8/20/13 1:12 pm
                                                     Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Leviathan8/20/13 5:36 pm
                                                           Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Postmortem8/20/13 11:24 pm
                                         Re: I have a hard time disconnecting my brain...Quirel8/21/13 9:17 pm
     Re: Initiation #1 Review *Minor SP*Quirel8/15/13 2:43 am
           *GIF*Grizzlei8/15/13 8:42 pm
     Initiation previews?Document8/27/13 5:26 am
           Re: Initiation previews?Grizzlei8/27/13 6:01 am
                 Re: Initiation vs FoRDocument8/27/13 11:32 am

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