Rise of Atriox, Issue #3 – Review

“Atriox looks to Decimus to find others who can help the Banished expand their tech and maintain their fleet as the number of Banished continues to grow. Decimus recalls a Kig-Yar scientist named Sig Raan who resides in a secret Covenant facility on the planet Otraak. Is Sig Raan still loyal to the Covenant or will Decimus be able to convince her to help the Banished?”

We’re three issues into Halo: Rise of Atriox and I can’t help but wonder to myself whether the first two issues could have been a fluke, whether we’re going to be hit with a sudden lapse in quality as we cross the half-way mark of this series.

As it happens, they are absolutely keeping this up and I’m loving it! I’ve passed the point of doubting this series because it’s proven that it’s worth its salt three times over for me.

Issue #1 illustrated the pointless and visceral violence that Atriox and his thirty nine brothers endured and how that fire forged him into the person he is; Issue #2 expanded on a part of Isabel’s narration from Halo Wars 2 – Atriox’s rise to power from the moment he defied the Covenant, igniting the spark of revolution after killing the Executioner…

Now, Issue #3 marks something of a shift in the storytelling – in its tone, its visuals, and its perspective – as we finally get to see Atriox and Decimus on their own adventure in pursuit of their own goals. Continue reading

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Why I Love Halo: Nightfall – Part 2

We left off last time with our motley crew of Sedrans and ONI operatives (sorry for the proper nouns, Randall!) making ready to deploy to the fragment of Installation 04, known as Alpha Shard. Quite simply, the plan was to nab the smugglers responsible for mining the element used in an attack on Sedra City, then detonate a HAVOK nuke to destroy this shard of the Halo ring while they escape live happily ever after (or, as ‘happily’ as one can in the Halo setting)…

As William Butler Yeats once wrote in The Second Coming, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” – a line echoed by Randall as we come to the point where the nature of this narrative takes an unexpected turn through the use of a bit of narrative substitution.

This is also about the point where people definitively decide whether they love or hate Nightfall.

I am here to make the case for the former… Continue reading

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Why I Love Halo: Nightfall – Part 1

This one’s dedicated to Grim, who moved this right to the top of my ‘to-write’ list

Y’know, when Halo: Nightfall originally released, I, like many, wasn’t too sure what to make of it. I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t swept off my feet the way I was two years prior when Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn gave us Halo’s first foray into a feature-length live action production. That was a new and unexpected feeling.

Nightfall’s reputation sort of settled on a default negative in the fanbase and there haven’t been very many thinkpieces on it, so it’s a text that has sort of fallen by the wayside.

I’ve always regarded Nightfall better than most and I want to give it its due. I rewatched it four times over the last two weeks in order to formulate my final thoughts, which are currently spread across fourteen whole pages of notes, so this is gonna be a long one! Continue reading

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Rise of Atriox, Issue #2 – Review

“Atriox, a valuable asset to the Covenant army, is slowly growing more aggressive and powerful among the Brute ranks – becoming a danger to the Covenant itself. Seeing this, the Executioner must end Atriox before Atriox ends him!”

Another month passes, another issue of Rise of Atriox drops. I could get used to this!

In the second issue of this ongoing serial (it feels really nice to have five months of constant Halo releases to look forward to), we’re revisiting a scene shown in Halo Wars 2.

Where the first issue illustrated the pointless and visceral violence that Atriox and his thirty nine brothers were thrown into by the Covenant that forged him into the person he is, the second follows up on another part of Isabel’s narration from Halo Wars 2 – Atriox’s rise to power from the moment he defied the Covenant, igniting the spark of revolution. Continue reading

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Rise of Atriox, Issue #1 – Review

“Atriox, the legendary Brute under the command of the alien collective known as the Covenant, leads a Brute assault against a UNSC military outpost. Wave after wave of Brutes are lost attacking the human outpost defended by a group of UNSC marines, the ruthless Atriox soldiers on. As his comrades fall, Atriox’s hatred for the Covenant grows.”

This was something of an impromptu decision because I didn’t really plan to write anything for Rise of Atriox, but it has been a week since the first issue released and… I’m still thinking about it. It has actually stuck with me past the point of turning the final page.

And it’s begging me to write down some thoughts about why it hasn’t simply been a ‘one-and-done’ read for the sake of a monthly fix of background lore.

Be warned, we’re dropping feet first into spoiler territory! Continue reading

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In Defence of Halo 2’s Cliffhanger

The darkness of space twisted, warped, pulsed, and then exploded into a brilliant white light as the fragile walls between normal space and its dimensional subdomain rent apart.

Anodyne Spirit emerged through the slipstream, its divine engines speeding its way towards a planet that its fragmented heart had, over millennia, long yearned to find its way back to – in pursuit of truth, reconciliation… atonement.

This world was once known as Erde-Tyrene.

Earth.

Within the bowels of the Keyship, finally free from its long sojourn, the Master Chief’s COM systems immediately established a link with the UNSC battlenet.

A tumultuous mess of emergency alerts, evacuation orders, and distress calls filled the Master Chief’s HUD, cycling through the final messages of the countless lost souls aboard vessels that flash-vaporised under the immensity of super-heated plasma – detonating into what might have looked like a thousand new stars flaring into existence from the surface of the planet.

“This is Spartan-117, can anyone hear me? Over.”

A familiar voice replied, one which almost drove the Master Chief to feel relief – or, as much as he allowed himself to feel. Lord Hood was still on Cairo Station, and he was giving the Covenant hell.

“Isolate that signal! Master Chief? You mind telling me what you’re doing on that ship?”

“Sir. Finishing this fight. Continue reading

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Halo 5, Cortana, and Ableism

Continuing the interlude between the Master Chief character analysis articles and the upcoming Halo Wars 2 level-by-level analysis is something that I’m sure isn’t going to be popular with a number of people – but, of course, if we were to restrict ourselves to ‘popular’ perspectives, there’d be nothing interesting to discuss.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a critical focus piece on Halo 5 (there has thankfully been a wealth of more positive things to discuss), but I was replaying some of the campaign the other night with a friend of mine – the illustrious author of the blog Halsey’s Journal – and this was a topic that was foremost in our discussions while grinding our way through the final mission.

That topic was ableist writing and how it applies to Halo 5‘s portrayal of Cortana. This is something that I and several others have covered before, but I don’t feel that I’ve done justice to explaining it from the ground-up.

Indulge me, or cry havoc against the wicked Tumblr SJW™ perspective. Your choice! Continue reading

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