The Best 'Halo' Comics to Read Now That the Show Has Wrapped Up

haloep5 mobile
Paramount+

So, you just finished the latest episode of the Halo show. Maybe you’re anxiously waiting for the next one. Perhaps you’re disappointed and need a little palette cleanser. Perhaps a little bit of both. Once you’ve played the games and watched the show, where’s the next place for a hungry Halo fan to go?

Well, the books, to be honest, and there’s a great video recapping those. But all those words and no pictures? Boring, and more importantly: not my beat.

The comics can be a mixed bag like the books (and the games). Most are pretty standard action stories that are serviceable but nothing terribly ambitious. There are a few gems in the mix, though, so whether you’re a longtime Halo fan or you can hardly tell your Sangheili from your Jiralhanae: here are five Halo comics to grab while you wait for the show to come back.

1. Halo: Collateral Damage

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Dark Horse Comics and Graphic Novels

Collateral Damage isn’t just a pretty good Halo story, it’s a pretty good jumping-on-point for anyone new to the setting or looking for something along the lines of the show. It’s a Master Chief and team story, and though the lineup here is different than what’s in the show the gist is the same. Spartans are one of the last lines of defense against the new and overwhelming threat of the Covenant.

Collateral Damage is written by Alex Irvine, who also handled a few other Halo comics, with art by Dave Crosland.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the Halo universe, and one the show taps into, is that the Spartan project was designed to combat a pretty justifiable human insurgency – their prowess in fighting the Covenant was a windfall. Collateral Damage explores that as well, as Master Chief and his Blue Team are forced to work together with local insurrectionists to content with a Covenant invasion force.

Enjoyment of Collateral Damage’s art style will vary from reader to reader. It isn’t the hyper-realism that defines most of the Halo comics, it’s more cartoonish and exaggerated. But after dozens of comics aiming at being as photorealistic as possible with mixed results: it’s a refreshing change of pace.

Also, like in the show, Master Chief is presented as something of a moderating force for the more hardline, unquestioning Spartans. The games rarely have humans as anything more than cannon fodder at your side, so seeing Master Chief interact with human civilians or insurrectionists gives Halo fans a glimpse of a different side of the character. Similarly, the insurrectionists have to grapple mid-firefight with how the threat of the Covenant forces them to reassess their priorities.

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2. Halo: Uprising

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Marvel Comics

This one is, at the very least, the prettiest Halo book. In the 2000s, Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev were a team that couldn’t miss, and Halo Uprising is one of their more underrated endeavors.

As mentioned above, a look at non-military humans is fairly rare in the Halo games, and Halo: Uprising splits its time between Master Chief and a group of humans trying to survive in the middle of a Covenant invasion. It’s got some of Bendis’ overly text-heavy writing, but it’s still an insightful look at what the stakes of the games look like for the average person rather than a power-armored superhuman.

It’s the superhuman side of things that actually makes Halo Uprising a qualified recommendation. The book is meant to fill in the gap between Halo 2 and Halo 3, so some knowledge of the context outside of the comics is ideal. But really, who is going to go from the show to the comics without playing the games?

If you have played the games then Uprising isn’t just required reading to fill in that gap: the B-plot with the human survivors is one of the better stories in Halo and with probably the best characters out of any of these comics. It feels more like the first Cloverfield movie than anything from the rest of Halo canon, but it works. And there’s a twist that, dare I say, might be one of the best in the franchise.

So if you don’t have any other context for Halo and just want another Master Chief story, Collateral Damage is the one to go with, but if you’ve played through at least the original Halo trilogy, Halo Uprising is an easy recommendation.

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3. Halo: Helljumper

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Marvel Comics

Contrary to the core philosophy of the Halo show, some of the best Halo stories are completely absent the Master Chief. A few entirely lack the iconic Spartans. One of those was Halo: ODST, a sort of sequel to Halo 3 and one that centers around the orbital drop troopers that are somewhere between the regular grunts and the Spartans.

Halo: Helljumpers, by Peter David and Eric Nguyen, follows two of the characters from that game. ODST isn’t required to enjoy Helljumper, which is set before the game. Dutch and Romeo, the two central characters of Helljumper, are mostly side characters in ODST who get a lot of growth and backstory over Helljumper’s five issues. For the average Halo fan, it’s also worth reading as a sort of “slice of life” within the UNSC.

The artwork isn’t jaw-droppingly spectacular, but it’s effective enough to make Helljumper worth a read.

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4. Halo: Blood Line

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Marvel Comics

Like Helljumper, Blood Line doesn’t follow Master Chief, but it does follow a team of Spartans, Team Black. And honestly, you’re just as well, because Master Chief throughout the games is mostly a blank slate for the player. And the story by Fred Van Lente and Frances Portela here is very “Halo”. An undercover Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) ship carrying a team of Spartans and a Covenant ship both crash land on a Forerunner moon, with the two sides racing to uncover its secrets.

However, like Halo 2 and as we’re getting glimpses of in the show, the story follows the Covenant ship’s crew as much as it does the Spartans, highlighting some of the internal disagreements and strife within what’s seen by humans to be a monolithic enemy.

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5. Halo: Lone Wolf

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Dark Horse Books

Linda, the crack shot sniper of Master Chief’s Blue Team, goes on a solo outing to kill a rogue scientist on an isolated planet. When she arrives, however, the mission gets more complicated as Linda comes to understand why the scientist went rogue and discovers that he’s built a small community completely removed from the rest of the galaxy.

The story by Anne Toole and artists Kieren McKewon and JL Straw is fine. Like the show, it features a Spartan struggling between kill orders from above and their own conscience. It’s a decent story about Linda struggling with some of the nuances of her orders and trying to navigate a complicated situation on the ground. It’s nothing exceptional, but it’s still one of the better Halo comics.

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