When reading virtually any of the Halo books, the Covenant constantly points out that humans cannot be trusted because they have no honor, they always lie, and they’ll say and do anything for selfish reasons. Even though the Spartan-IIs and a few other humans always proved this notion wrong, it always bothered me every time I read it. Not all humans are so despicable; how can they get that idea when all the Covenant does is kill every human on sight and take no prisoners? And then I would turn the page and read about the horrid plans ONI is hatching to “ensure” human survival above the costs of everyone else; alliances with other races be damned. However, ONI has always painted it that they do the awful for the greater good, which in a sense is like the honor and culture of the Sangheili and the Sangheili pride.
All of that is gone by the second page of Halo: Escalation #19. Maybe not all humans are awful (I need this thought some days, give me a break), but virtually everyone at ONI is. I’m not sure how they can say what they do is good and honorable, when they say, and I quote:
The species’ [Sangheili] rigid code of honor, combined with their culture of overt and direct aggression, makes them naturally poor candidates for ONI’s line of work. Our search has been for the deviant. The abnormal social profile that shows an instinct for self-preservation and deception. Basically, we looked for the most human Sangheili we could find…
I want to choke them and say, “No, you’ve found the most ONI Sangheili you could find,” but I suppose at that point we would be splitting hairs.
Why are they looking for a human Sangheili? I admit it’s for a noble cause—a way for ONI to infiltrate Jul ‘Mdama’s new Covenant and put a stop to his and Halsey’s insurrection against humanity. Yet, I can’t help but think that they wouldn’t BE in this situation at all if they hadn’t proven Jul ‘Mdama right in his assessment of humans in the first place.
That could be a dissertation for another time. But back to this particular issue.
Issue #19 indeed jumps back into the plotline post Spartan Ops, one that will surely lead into the main storyline of Halo 5: Guardians. All of the big league players from the last several comics and Spartan Ops are here to shine: Dr. Glassman, Halsey, Jul ‘Mdama Commander Laskey, Spartan Thorne, Spartan Palmer, and another Spartan who I don’t want to name here. I’d hate to kill any sort of surprise. For a comic that kicks off a new story arc, it jam-packed in plenty, removing the typical chessboard set-up most first issues/episodes/etc. have. And yet, it was able to do so without feeling rushed or even jam-packed. Virtually everyone has already been introduced in past arcs and media, which allowed the comic team to skip over most character development and jump right into ONI’s insidious plot.
Are you counting down the months until Halo 5: Guardians‘ release? You should be, because according to my watch, we have only 4 MORE ISSUES until the game releases. If you haven’t been reading Halo: Escalation, now is the time to get on board and catch up, catch up, catch up. I can’t emphasize enough how great this comic series is, and Issue #19 kicks it into amazingly high gear.
Digital review copy received from publisher.