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Comic Book / The Halo Graphic Novel

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The Halo Graphic Novel is a 2006 graphic novel published by Marvel Comics in partnership with Bungie Studios. Totaling 128 pages, the graphic novel covers four supplementary stories set in the Halo universe, with art by Simon Bisley, W. Andrew Robinson, Tsutomu Nihei (creator of Blame! and Knights of Sidonia), and even the retired Mœbius, who contributed because of his son's fondness of the games.

In the first story The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor (set just after the sixth mission in Halo: Combat Evolved), Elite Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadumee and his team respond to a distress call and board the crippled supply craft Infinite Succor, which the Covenant believe has been attacked by humans. The only crew member still alive, a Covenant Prophet, tells 'Vadumee that the Succor has been infested by the Flood. Stuck on the ship, the Flood intend to activate the Succor's slipspace drive to escape the star system and find new planets to infect. Fighting waves of Flood, including the reanimated remains of his fallen soldiers, 'Vadumee plots a slipspace course that will destroy both the Succor and the Flood aboard it, then escapes via a Covenant shuttle.

The second story Armor Testing (set shortly prior to the events of Halo 2) involves the UNSC field-testing a new version of the MJOLNIR Powered Armor, the Mark VI, in a series of challenging exercises. A lone Spartan-II puts the armor through its paces by dropping from Earth's atmosphere and engaging in a mock battle against UNSC special forces. This Spartan is revealed to be a woman, Maria-062, who has come out of retirement as a special favor to test the new equipment before it is sent to the Master Chief.

The third story Breaking Quarantine (also set just around Combat Evolved's sixth mission) follows Sgt. Johnson in his escape from the Flood infestation on Halo. No dialogue is included in this story, as the focus is on building atmosphere, with the only written words being sound effects and the like.

The final story of the compilation is Second Sunrise over New Mombasa, a story detailing the attack on New Mombasa, Kenya just before the Master Chief arrives there in Halo 2. The plot follows a reporter who creates propaganda for the UNSC. When the Covenant invade the city, the reporter and fellow citizens take to its defense, until they are forced to flee as the city faces ruin.

The book finishes with a section titled "Gallery Art", featuring a range of standalone artwork from various Bungie, Marvel and independent artists. Hidden away in this section is a secret fifth story known among fans as Page 122, a single-page collage of various documents related to a secretive mission Sergeant Johnson took during his time in Project: ORION.

The Halo Graphic Novel Contains the Following Tropes:

    open/close all folders 

  • All There in the Manual: The graphic novel taking the place of the manual.
    • Among other things, it's the first source to reveal the half-jawed Elite Spec-Ops Commander's actual name, and page 122 is notable for being the first canonical indication that Sergeant Johnson is actually a Spartan-I.
  • Continuity Porn: The graphic novel in general. It's particularly notable for being the first source to actually reference I Love Bees.

    The Last Voyage of the Infinite Succor 
  • Asshole Victim: The Minister, an egotistical load to the group, becomes infected and absorbed into the proto-Gravemind forming in the ship.
  • Body of Bodies: The Flood really go to town on this trope here. Many of the Flood beasts that Rtas and his squad run into have been visibly formed out of multiple infected creatures of various species, merged together into unholy amalgamations of decaying meat that somehow still move under their own power.
  • Badass Cape: Thel 'Vadam sports a pretty epic purple cloak.
  • Boarding Party: The Flood take over the Infinite Succor by crashing an infected Spirit dropship into it.
  • Body Horror: The art does more than enough in making the Flood look absolutely grotesque, especially when you notice the bits that used to be human.
  • Book Ends: The story begins and ends with Rtas and 'Kusovai dueling.
  • The Cameo: Thel 'Vadam, the future Arbiter, appears in his former rank as the Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice.
  • Continuity Nod: The first two pages depict the beginning of the Halo: Combat Evolved level "343 Guilty Spark", complete with appearances by both the Master Chief and Foehammer's Pelican.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: After all of the Elites accompanying Rtas are killed in taking the engineering room, the viewscreen turns on to show that the Minister and the rest of the squad have been consumed by the Flood.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Rtas defeats the Flood-infected 'Kusovai by letting the latter cut into his arm, giving Rtas the opening he needs to deal a killing blow.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The plot primarily follows a Covenant Special Operations squad.
  • Foreshadowing: A panel of the Minister shows him with eyes rolled back and growths on his face, hinting at his eventual infection.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: The Infinite Succor and all the Flood aboard it are destroyed when Rtas has it make a slipspace jump into the nearest sun.
  • I Am Legion: After gaining the ability to speak, the Proto-Gravemind refers to itself in first-person plural.
  • It Can Think: The Minister reveals to Rtas that the Flood are capable of rapidly learning from those they infect, to the point where consuming just one of Rtas's Elites has already made all of them much more organized.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: After finding the Minister, Rtas orders half the surviving Elites and all the Grunts to escort the Minister to safety while he and the other Elites make their way into Engineering. The Minister objects to this, claiming that they should all be guarding him, but Rtas makes it clear that the safety of the Covenant as a whole, not the Minister, is their top priority. Violently.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: At one point, the fighting gets so fierce that Rtas and his Elites are forced to activate their hand-held energy shields. Given that Halo: Ghosts of Onyx indicated that Elites hate using hand-held energy shields, it demonstrates both Rtas's Combat Pragmatist nature and just how dangerous a foe the Flood are.
  • Mercy Kill:
    • During the assault one Elite is infected and begs to not become one of the Flood. Rtas performs a brief funeral rite and puts him out of his misery.
    • He ends up having to do the same to 'Kusovai, though by then 'Kusovai is already Flood and has no awareness that it's a mercy kill.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Minister of Etiology, a Minor Prophet who locks the ship's control systems out of distrust that the Spec-Ops unit that has come to secure the ship is Flood-infected. He then forces them fight their way through the Flood again just to get to the medical bay to prove they're not infected, then all the way to the hydroponics deck, wasting time and getting men killed. When he starts protesting Rtas's plan for self-destructing the ship, Rtas gets fed up with him and orders him to cooperate or be left for dead.
  • Raising the Steaks: The Infinite Succor was a food supply ship and the Flood has taken over the animals inside.
  • The Reveal: Rtas having two of his mandibles cut off at the climax reveals that the Elite we've been following is "Half-Jaw" of Halo 2.
  • Taking You with Me: Rtas and Kusovai duel in a training exercise at the story's beginning. When 'Kusovai gets the upper hand, Rtas forces his momentum in a way that will let him also impale 'Kusovai the moment Rtas is stabbed. Rtas considers that enough of a victory for him, and warns 'Kusovai to think more creatively. Rtas ends up using a similar maneuver to defeat the Flood-infected 'Kusovai, though he manages to get away with "just" a deep cut in the arm and both his left mandibles sliced off.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Flood, but eventually they develop beyond being mindless savages to becoming a Hive Mind and assembling a means to spread to more worlds.

    Armor Testing 
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: A lot of the background and "props" are clearly assets taken straight from the Halo 2 engine; it's particularly noticeable with the Covenant vehicles.
  • Action Mom: Downplayed. Maria retired to become a mother, but it's not clear if she already is one or has yet to be.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Sort of; Maria's mobbed by a small army of ODSTs near the end of the Mark VI test, but it’s not revealed what the outcome of the fight is, as the scene cuts straight to her and the ODSTs walking back to the main base.
  • Call-Back: The new Mark VI armor being tested against a group of ODSTs calls back to John's test of Mark V against ODSTs in Halo: The Fall of Reach. Luckily though, this test has significantly less lethal consequences.
  • Career Versus Mom: In a sense. Maria quit the Spartans to start a family. On one hand, Spartan work doesn't leave a lot of time for a personal life. On the other hand, it's a "saving humanity from extinction" job.
  • Continuity Nod: The whole story is one to Halo 2's first level, where Master Chief is informed that his new MJOLNIR Mark VI was just shipped to Cairo Station from Songnam that morning.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: When Maria tosses her grenade, it hits an ODST right in the head. Given how strong Spartans are, that probably left a mark.
  • Monochrome Casting: Nearly everyone in the story is Korean, with the exception of Maria and the ODSTs. Justified, since the story takes place in Songnam, Korea.
  • Oh, Crap!: An ODST lets out an "Aw, crap" when he sees the grenade that Maria just tossed into the middle of his squad.
  • One-Woman Army: As par for a Spartan.
  • Paintball Episode: Instead of live ammo, Maria and the ODSTs use paintball rounds.
  • Retired Badass: However long it's been since Maria retired, she still has her old skill.
  • Rocketless Reentry: The Mark VI test begins by having Maria drop to the testing site from orbit with nothing but a parachute. This serves as Foreshadowing for how the Chief gets back to Earth's surface in Halo 3.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Spartan testing the Mark VI turns out to be a woman named Maria. Of note is that she's the first Spartan to ever have her face depicted in visual Halo media.

    Breaking Quarantine 
  • Body Horror: The art really gets across the horrifying nature of those infected by the Flood.
  • Chase Fight: The entire tale consists of Johnson trying to run away from the Flood while fighting them off.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We already know that Johnson's going to escape, especially since the foreword outright mentions it. The fun is in seeing how badass he is in doing so.
  • In a Single Bound: When an infected Marine starts to turn off the light bridge Johnson is running across, the Sarge manages to leap to the other side despite only being about halfway across. Justified by Johnson actually being a Spartan-I.
    • The Flood chasing him don't quite make it across, but it doesn't matter, since it takes them only a single leap to jump all the way back up.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: There's zero dialogue and no narration. Justified, since Johnson is the only non-infected sentient in the entire story.
  • Punched Across the Room: One Flood Combat Form is able to knock Johnson across an entire room with its tentacles. Our good Sergeant's none the worse for wear, however, considering that (again) he's actually a Spartan-I.
  • Retcon: Word of God is that this story was created for the purpose of retconning away Halo: First Strike's explanation for how Johnson survived the events of Combat Evolved. Basically, First Strike stated that Johnson was actually immune to Flood infection, while Breaking Quarantine instead established that he was simply too badass to let any Infection Form stick its tentacles into him.invoked
  • Written Sound Effect: Manga-style ones at that, due to being illustrated by a mangaka.

    Second Sunrise Over New Mombasa 
  • Afrofuturism: New Mombasa is a cosmopolitan industrial port city located in Kenya, though its "Old" Mombasa section is pretty rundown.
  • Art Shift: In contrast to the previous stories' relatively realistic and game-faithful art, Second Sunrise is heavily stylized and takes a number of liberties with the games' designs.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Despite the colorful and cartoony art-style, the tale is quite dark, with some surprisingly gruesome scenes.
  • Determined Defeatist: The reporter is confident that the Covenant will ultimately succeed in wiping out humanity, but he's nonetheless determined to do his job. He's even willing to give up his lifeboat seat to a little girl despite believing that she's probably not going to survive for long either way.
  • Gas Leak Cover-Up: The UNSC initially tries to cover up the damage from the space battle over New Mombasa as being caused by a gas valve venting pressure.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Even after being injured, the reporter's first thought upon waking up in a medical center is that no one is properly covering the news of the Covenant attack, and therefore he needs to get up and do so himself.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: As the reporter's ONI handler goes into a long spiel about how their propaganda work is helping to prevent panic and unrest, the background shows panicking civilians fleeing into emergency shelters as the Covenant finally arrive.
  • Kid Amid the Chaos: When the reporter is about to get on an evacuating lifeboat, he notices an abandoned little girl nearby, and decides to let her take his seat.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: Takes place entirely from the perspective of a civilian reporter.
  • No Name Given: None of the characters are ever referred to by name; it wasn't until 2015's HUNT the TRUTH that we finally got a name for our reporter protagonist (Benjamin Giraud).
  • Prequel: For Halo 2's Earth levels, showing what happened to New Mombasa before the Master Chief got there.
  • Propaganda Machine: The reporter works as a contractor for ONI, making sure that news about the Covenant war is rendered "digestible" for the public; he feels both guilt and pride about this. The propaganda's been working too; one panel shows that most of Earth's civilians truly have almost no idea what the war is really like, to the point where some people actually think the UNSC actually has the upper hand.
  • La Résistance: The reporter ends up tagging along with a makeshift civilian resistance group for a bit.
  • Translator Microbes: The reporter notes that he has to keep his translator running when speaking with the locals in Old Mombasa. He later uses it to decipher what an Elite is saying.
  • Uncertain Doom: The story ends with the reporter being left behind in New Mombasa while it's being overrun by the Covenant. Almost a decade later, it was finally revealed in Hunt the Truth that he did manage to escape alive.

Alternative Title(s): Halo Graphic Novel